Mahuika crater is a submarine feature that is hypothesized to be an impact crater. It is about 20 ± 2 km (12.4 ± 1.2 mi) wide and over 153 meters (502 ft) deep and lies on the New Zealand continental shelf at 48.3 South and 166.4 East, to the south of The Snares. The Mahuika crater is named after the Māori god of fire. However, there is debate about its origins.
The crater was reported and named by Dallas Abbott and her colleagues from the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. Based on elemental anomalies, fossils, and minerals, which are interpreted to be derived from the impact, found in an ice core from the Siple Dome in Antarctica, it is argued that the impact which created the Mahuika crater occurred around 1443 AD, but other sources have placed the date as 13 February 1491 AD.Some evidence suggests that the tsunami it caused was observed by Aboriginal Australians and entered into their oral traditions.
Debate on the origin
In 2010 a paper was published in Marine Geology which critically analysed Abbott's claims regarding the origin of the Mahuika crater. The researchers determined that there was no evidence to indicate a comet created the crater, and therefore the possibility of an impact causing the tsunami was highly unlikely.