Thursday, January 07, 2010

Desktop Discovery

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Duane Hamacher, a PhD student from Australia’s Macquarie University, found an ancient meteor impact crater in the Palm Valley of Australia's Northern Territory by following clues from an ancient dreamtime legend told by the indigenous Arrernte people and searching Google Earth. Universe Today says Hamacher heard "the Arrernte people’s legend about a star that fell into a waterhole called Puka in the valley where Kulaia, the serpent, lived," and:
Guided by details of the story, Mr Hamacher searched an area about 130 km southwest of Alice Springs, in the Finke National Park on Google Earth. He found what appeared to be a bowl-shaped depression. His suspicions were confirmed when he visited the site with a team of geophysicists and astrophysicists, who found evidence that a popular tourist location in the national park called Palm Valley contains the remains of an ancient impact crater.

source: Dec. 30th Universe Today

Question: Will the award of Mr. Hamacher's doctorate mark a digital age milestone?

(via Berman Post)


Anonymous said...

Answer: Perhaps a digital age millstone, as PhD students should not have to rely on Google Earth as a research tool. Aerial topographical studies of this sort have been conducted for some time now with the assistance of government and NGO support. That a PhD student did not have access to those tools is worrisome.

I would respond with a definite "yes," on the other hand, if this had been a discovery by a mere netizen.

Then again, Mr. Hamacher's effort shows some spot-on spunk!


Carl said...

Wonder whether Google Earth's user interface is better than those of existing aerial topographical studies?