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U of M scientists unearth massive meteoroid crash site under Inver Grove Heights

CBS Minnesota 9/29/2022 Kirsten Mitchell

MINNEAPOLIS -- As NASA tries to re-route an asteroid, scientists at the University of Minnesota have made a mind-blowing discovery.

Geologists believe a massive meteor crashed into what is now Inver Grove Heights about 500 million years ago.

It was supposed to be a typical geologic remapping of Dakota County, but instead, scientists at the Minnesota Geological Survey unearthed something out of this world.

Geologist Julia Steenberg believes they found the site of a meteor crash. The crater under Inver Grove Heights spans about 2.5 miles wide and dates back 490 million years.

You can't see traces of it above ground. But if you've driven on Highway 52, you've likely driven above the meteor site. The real evidence can only be found about 350 feet below ground.

"We noticed the grains of sands had a very particular look that looked like they were shocked or fractured and some of the data showed the rocks were actually inverted," said Steenberg.

They're calling it the "Pine Bend Impact." If verified, it would be the first meteor site in Minnesota, among just 190 known sites nationwide.

Scientists estimate the area of the crater is 11 times the size of the iconic meteor crater in Arizona. Steenberg says a discovery like this allows them to learn more about our past and look ahead to the future.

About a third of all known meteor sites are buried, like the one found in Inver Grove Heights. Steenberg is trying to get her findings published and get the site added to the official count.

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