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Last Updated: Saturday March 19 2005 15:06 GMT

UK's 'comet' crater investigated

The Silverpit crater (Stewart/Allen)
Scientists have discovered more about what is thought to be the UK's only crater caused by an asteroid or comet.

The crater - known as the Silverpit - is located hundreds of metres under the floor of the North Sea, about 130km off the coast of Yorkshire.

Scientists Simon Stewart and Phil Allen have made a 3D map of the crater.

It shows rings sweeping out from a 3km-wide hole. Phil said he was "99% certain" the crater was caused by an impact, but some scientists disagree.

Location of Silverpit

"If you saw that on Mars or any of the other planetary bodies, you wouldn't question it," said Phil.

It's been suggested that the crater was caused by a 7-million-tonne, 120-metre-wide object about 60 to 65m years ago.

The scientists say the rings of the crater are a good match with those of impact craters on Jupiter's icy moons.

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