The crater has been uniquely preserved by sediments settling into the depression, and is unlike any other impact crater so far found on Earth. Other craters we know about were created in hard rocks, whereas Silverpit would have been formed in soft underwater sediments – creating a very different shape of crater. A tall conical central peak is buried inside the crater that is itself surrounded by a series of concentric rings which extend out a further 8 km in each direction. Unparalleled three-dimensional mapping of these concentric features down to a resolution of tens of meters shows that the outer ripples are caused by concentric faults in chalk on the sea floor around the central crater that were probably triggered by the impact. Its shape and size stand Silverpit apart from other craters in the inner Solar System and its closest relative appears to be the crater Valhalla on Jupiter's moon Callisto.
Related entry Earth impact craters
Related categories CRATERS
GEOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
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