A team of researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered one of the largest asteroid impact zones on the planet.

Located in northeast South Australia, the East Warburton Basin contains evidence of a 30,000 kilometre impact area, thought to have been caused by an asteroid measuring between 10 to 20 kilometres in diameter which struck the Earth more than 298 million years ago.

Dr Andrew Glikson, a visiting fellow in the ANU Planetary Science Institute and the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology, studied the impact of the ancient asteroid following an initial suggestion by Dr Tonguc Uysal of the University of Queensland.

“The size of the shock metamorphic terrain, larger than 200 kilometres in diameter, makes it the third-largest discovered to date on Earth,” Dr Glikson said.

“It is also possible that the asteroid impact dates back to the late Devonian period – 360 million years ago – a time of major mass extinction.”