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When a child sees a shooting star in the night sky, he makes a wish. Then, in astronomy lessons, he is told that these rapidly moving points of fire are just space debris.
Large and small cosmic bodies continuously bombard the Earth. Most of them burn up without residue in the upper atmosphere, but especially large ones reach the surface. Such "travelers" are capable of causing quite a stir.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite, which landed in 2013, stripped the windows of an entire block. The crater from the Chelyabinsk meteorite has not been found to this day. However, traces left by its larger brethren survived on the surface of the Earth. The depressions created by the impacts of space wanderers make it possible to judge the size of the meteorites.
We present to your attention the 10 largest meteorite impacts known to humankind.
10. Barringer Crater
50 thousand years ago, a meteorite 50 meters across fell in the Northern Desert. The Grand Canyon received a mark with a diameter of 1,500 meters and a depth of 180 meters. To leave such a trail, the meteorite had to rush at a speed of 45 thousand kilometres per hour. The power of the explosion was 150 times greater than the power of an atomic strike on Hiroshima. With its almost complete absence of erosion, Barringer Crater is a perfect illustration of what a real meteorite scar should look like. This landmark is one of the jewels of the Grand Canyon.
9. Lake Bosumtvi
In Africa, to the southeast of Ghana lies Lake Bosumtwi. It has a unique shape: an almost perfect circle. The reservoir was formed after the impact of a meteorite, more than a million years ago. Exploration of the lake is hampered not only by the fact that it is located in an impenetrable jungle. The local Ashanti tribe worships the lake spirit, and it is impossible to touch its waters with any metal objects, so as not to defile the water and not to anger the deity Bosumtvi.
8. Lake Mistastin
Mistastin is a lake near Labrador in Canada. Its age is about 38 million years. The area of the object is approximately 18 by 11 kilometres. The meteorite crater, in which the lake is located, has the shape of a strongly elongated oval since the impact of the asteroid came at an angle. In the centre of the lake, there is an island, which appeared as a result of the uplift of rock.
7. Gosses Bluff Crater
Evidence for one of the most powerful meteorite impacts is found on the Australian continent. This is a cavity with a diameter of 24 kilometres, left by a celestial body that collided with the Earth's surface at a speed of 40 thousand kilometres per hour. The depth of the Gosses Bluff crater is 5 kilometres on average.
6. Pure Water Lakes
290 million years ago, a meteorite that entered the earth's atmosphere split. Therefore, two lakes appeared in the east of Hudson Bay (Canada). External factors have greatly changed their shape and size, but the "heavenly" origin is still clearly visible. They say that a bomb does not fall twice into one funnel, but a meteor, it turns out.
5. Tunguska Meteorite
Scientists are still wondering what fell near the village of Tunguska in the summer of 1908.
In addition to the meteorite version, the possibility of a collision with a comet fragment and the wreck of an alien ship is considered, although the latter is more of a fantasy. Whatever it was, the blast wave destroyed more than 2,000 square kilometres of the taiga. The echo of the blast wave reached even Britain.
Traces of radioactive contamination are still found in soil and wood samples. And some residents who were near the epicentre at the time of the explosion showed signs of radiation sickness.
4. Lake Eye of Quebec
Another meteorite that fell on the territory of Canada 212 million years ago left a crater on the surface more than 100 kilometres in size. They named him Manikuagan. Now it houses the largest Canadian reservoir—the Eye of Quebec. The asteroid that created this lake was five kilometres in diameter.
3. Sudbury Crater
Canada is the leader in the number of outstanding craters. One gets the impression that someone purposefully bombarded its territory with, especially large asteroids.
It is easy to guess that Sudbury is located in Canada. Its age is approximately 2 billion years. The crater has enormous dimensions: it is 25 kilometres wide, 65 kilometres long, and 14 kilometres deep.
The meteorite that gave birth to Sudbury was mostly nickel. Canadian mining companies are actively mining this non-ferrous metal throughout the crater. They account for 10 per cent of the total world production of this element.
2. Chicxulub Crater
Chicxulub Crater is located in the Yucatan Peninsula region of Mexico. It was opened relatively recently, in 1978. This is an ancient crater, over the centuries its outlines have lost their former clarity, and it took a lot of time to identify the trail from the impact of the asteroid.
The asteroid, after the impact of which Chicxulub appeared, flew to our planet 65 million years ago. It is possible that the dinosaurs became extinct precisely after the fall of the Yucatan meteorite. The power of the explosion was so great that it led to the formation of a tsunami and provoked tectonic and volcanic activity throughout the Earth. A series of cataclysms led to climatic changes, and the era of giant reptiles has sunk into the past. The diameter of the funnel is currently 170 kilometres.
1. Crater Vredefort
The largest known crater today is Vredefort in South Africa. The record 300 kilometres in diameter are amazing.
The crater is so large that a whole city fits inside it, which gave its name to the meteor crater.
A giant block crashed into the Earth about 2 billion years ago. The Earth's biosphere did not suffer significant damage just because it was in its infancy. But this meteorite impact brought about global changes in the Earth's climatic map and possibly influenced the astronomical characteristics of the planet.
- The mystery of the Sudbury basin solved
- Space Tourism: Craters You Can Actually See
- Vredefort Dome
- These Lakes Are Actually Craters Made By Asteroids
- Gosses Bluff Impact Crater
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.