UNB Student To Study 389-Million-Year-Old Crater In Canada's Far North

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 10:58 AM

A crater in Canada's far north that has remained unexplored in half a century is going to be visited and studied by a University of New Brunswick graduate student.

Maree McGregor is a native of Perth, Australia who attends UNB's Planetary and Space Science Centre in Fredericton is making the journey to the Nicholson Lake impact crater which dates back 389-million-years next summer. It's located about 600 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

"The main goal of going to the crater into the field is to sort of do geological observation, collect samples, and map the structure in detail which hasn't been done before because only one other person has been there and that was when it was first discovered as a crater and that was over 50 years ago," says McGregor.

"Understanding [impact craters] gives us an idea of how planets evolve and not only that they do affect the climate significantly, and we do know from such as the Chicxulub impact crater that wiped out the dinosaurs that they can have pronounced climatic effects so it is important to understand them."

She says the site has many intriguing geological features like impact melts and rare and unusual shock-modified minerals.

McGregor is able to embark on this mission because of support she's getting from winning the 2017 Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award from the Geological Society of America's division of planetary geology.