10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth

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10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth

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                   There are around 42 recorded impact sites on the surface of planet Earth from the biggest to the smallest not measuring smaller than 20 kilometers. There could have been a lot more bigger impact craters hidden by the deeper parts of the oceans or buried under ice, we never know as millions of years have caused erosion causing those locations to be altered. One thing is sure that there are more truths behind shooting stars to make a wish and perhaps the best wish we could make  is to keep praying that no shooting star appears on the evening sky so big that we are bound to be lost with our world seconds after a glimpse of it.

                                                                                                                                          

Vredefort Crater – Free State, South Africa

Coordinates: 27°0’ S 27° 30’ E

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               Estimated to have been caused by the largest ever asteroid to strike Earth some 2020 million years ago, it measures at 300 km diameter and was in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites for its geological significance.

Sudbury Basin Crater – Ontario, Canada

Coordinates: 46°36’N 81°11’W

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                 Located on the Canadian Shield in the city of Greater Sudbury, Ontario this crater is called Sudbury Structure or Sudbury Nickel Irruptive and considered a major geologic structure in Canada. It is the second largest impact crater on the planet and the oldest. Measuring 250 km in diameter, this impact crater was estimated to have been caused some 1,850 million years ago.

Chicxulub Crater – Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Coordinates: 21°20’ N 89° 30’W

From Google Maps images

            An ancient crater buried beneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, its center was pinpointed near the town of Chicxulub hence it was named after it. Measuring at more than 180 km in diameter, it was considered one of the largest confirmed impact sites on the planet.

Manicouagan Crater – Quebec, Canada

Coordinates: 51°23’ N 68° 42’W

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            This crater was thought to have been caused by the impact of a 5 km diameter asteroid some 215.5 million years ago. The crater is a multiple ring structure measured at 100 km with an inner ring of 70 km containing a lake, the Manicouagan Reservoir.

Popigai Crater – Siberia, Russia

Coordinates: 71°39’ N 111° 11’E

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         A 100 km crater caused by another bolide some 35.7 ± 0.2 million years ago. Considered the 4th largest verified impact crater on the planet, it is situated north of the Siberian city of Norilsk. UNESCO designated it as a Geopark a term which refers to a place of special geological heritage.

Chesapeake Bay Crater – Virginia, United States

Coordinates: 37°17’ N 76° 1’ W

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          Estimated to have been caused by a bolide some 35 million years ago, it is one of the best preserved marine impact craters and the largest impact crater in the US. A bolide is a form of fireball which is usually brighter than an ordinary meteor.

Acraman Crater – Gawler Ranges, Southern Australia

Coordinates: 32°1’ S 135° 27’ E

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          Estimated to have marred the surface some 580 million years ago, the Acraman Crater was situated in a lake about 20 km in diameter. Like other meteor craters it was deeply eroded which means the original size was actually bigger where some estimate it to be about 85-90km.

Puchezh-Katunki Crater – Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia

Coordinates: 56°58’ N 43° 43’ E

From Google Maps images

             A meteor crater about 80 km in diameter and estimated at 167 ± 3 million years old, the Puchezh-Katunki can be found in Chkalovsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia.

Morokweng Crater – Kalahari Desert, South Africa

Coordinates: 26° 28’ S 23° 32’ E

From Google Maps images

         This impact crater was actually buried beneath the Kalahari Desert near the town of Morokweng at the Northwest Province of South Africa close to the border of Botswana. Caused by an asteroid about 5-10 km (3-6 miles) in diameter it is about 160 km (100 miles) in diameter and estimated to be 145.0 ± 0.8 million years old.

Kara Crater – Nenetsia, Russia

Coordinates: 69° 6’ N 64° 9’ E

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Found in the Yugorsky Peninsula , Nenetsia, Russia this meteor crater was estimated to have been marked by a meteorite which impacted earth some 70.3 ± 2.2 million years ago. The impact crater measures 65 km in diameter but judging from the erosion, which greatly affected the original structure of the cavity, it was estimated to measure about 120 km.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth

http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/africa.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acraman_crater

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesapeake_Bay_impact_crater

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manicouagan_crater

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_Crater

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_Basin

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