The Shiva Crater is a large geologic feature located off the coast of India. It is believed to be an impact crater, caused by the collision of an asteroid with Earth, although some scientists have cast aspersions on this theory. Whatever caused it, the Shiva Crater is certainly gigantic, and it appears to have formed around 65 million years ago, around the same time as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Some scientists think that the Shiva Crater may be linked to this historical event.
Studying the Shiva Crater is complicated, because the crater has been moved from its original location as a result of seafloor spreading. It has also deformed significantly, as the seafloor doesn't always spread at an even rate, and earthquakes and other events have further disrupted its shape. Reconstructions suggest that the crater is teardrop shaped, and it measures roughly 249 by 373 miles (400 by 600 kilometers). The crater was named by an Indian researcher for the Hindu god of destruction and rebirth.
This seafloor formation also appears to be closely related to the Deccan Traps, another large seafloor structure made from basalt which appears to be of volcanic origin. By examining the mineral composition of the Deccan Traps, researchers hope to learn more about the Shiva Crater and its relationship to the Deccan Traps and the K-T boundary, a distinctive geological signature which dates to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.
According to those who believe that the Shiva Crater was caused by a collision, the collision contributed to the events of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, in which numerous species worldwide went extinct. Several other craters have been discovered on other regions of the Earth, suggesting that the planet may have been bombarded by a series of asteroids which could have simultaneously done a great deal of damage by clouding the Earth's atmosphere and triggering geological events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
By researching structures such as the Shiva Crater, scientists hope to learn more about the life of the Earth and important events in the planet's history. If the Shiva Crater was indeed created by a catastrophic collision, it could help to explain why so many species went extinct during the Cretaceous-Tertiary event, and it might explain the mineral composition of the K-T boundary associated with this period in geologic history.