Our planet is constantly visited by visitors from outer space. The same meteorite rains – a phenomenon familiar to man. Nevertheless, some cosmic bodies reach the surface of the Earth.
They leave evidence of their visit – large craters. These material traces are quite rare for our planet, because most meteorites burn in the atmosphere. The more interesting it will be to learn about the most famous craters on Earth.
The Barringer crater (Arizona, USA). Coordinates: 35 ° 1’38 “N, 111 ° 1’21” W.
Meteorite crater Barringer is not without reason considered the most famous in the world. After all, it visually stands out. A lot of films have been shot about this place, and its image is constantly exhibited, as an example of the fact that a certain large cosmic body collided with our planet in due time. In the crater in the 1960s, NASA astronauts underwent training before their flight to the moon. Scientists have unraveled the mystery of the crater. It appeared about 50 thousand years ago, when a meteorite of diameters of 50 meters fell here. It consisted of iron and weighed 300,000 tons. As a result of the impact, a crater of diameters of 1200 meters was formed. Its maximum depth is 170 meters. Exploration of the crater began in 1902. Then the land with a strange huge pit was bought by engineer Barringer. He began drilling here to find a huge iron meteorite. The fact is that the engineer, unlike many of his contemporaries, believed in the cosmic origin of the crater. Here, Barringer decided to find a proof of his theory – a meteorite, and at the same time and get rich on the sale of metal. Although he did not receive any money, he was able to prove the origin of the crater. Since then, these lands remain in the possession of his descendant. The crater itself received the name of Barringer and brings in the end income. The engineer’s family receives money not for the found metal, but for visiting numerous tourists. Das Steinheimer Becken (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Coordinates: 48 ° 41 ‘2 “N, 10 3’54” E.
The German community of Steinheim am Albough at first glance is rather common for this country. Here are scattered little old towns and small villages, and the fields are carefully groomed. But if you climb an elevation, it becomes clear that all this is inside the most real meteorite crater! Its diameter is 3.8 kilometers. A crater on Earth was formed 14-15 million years ago when a large space body fell down. Initially, the depth of the pit was 200 meters, it was occupied by a lake. But when the first people came here, the water had already left. As a result of water activities, natural erosion and human actions, the terrain has significantly changed its appearance. Today in the center of this crater stands a hill with a monastery on it. Below are two towns – Steinheim and Sonteim. In the first museum since 1978, dedicated to an extraterrestrial guest. It is curious that nearby, in Bavaria, there is an analogue of the crater in Steinheim – Nordlinger Pic. Its diameter is as much as 24 kilometers. But despite this, the crater in Baden-Württemberg is much more famous. Henbury craters (Northern Territory, Australia). Coordinates: 24 ° 34 ‘9 “S, 133 ° 8’ 54” E.
Water for Australia is wealth. Nevertheless, local natives never drank the rare rainwater that accumulates in the depressions of the red earth. According to their beliefs, this is the bait of a fiery devil who wants to take the lives of people. It is likely that the ancestors of the aborigines witnessed an event that occurred here about 4 thousand years ago. It also gave rise to such beliefs. Once a halftone meteorite, consisting of iron and nickel, entered the atmosphere of the earth. Burning there, it fell apart into 12 parts, each of which left the crater on Earth. The diameter of the smallest of them is 6 meters, and the largest is 182 meters. In 1899, they were discovered by Europeans, named after the nearby pasture Henbury. And then, in turn, got the name in honor of the English town, where the owners came from.In the middle of the 20th century, scientific work began to discover the remains of the meteorite. In total, more than 50 kilograms of debris were found. The largest of them weighed 10 kilograms. The Australian Government has decided to preserve this unique landscape from human interference and its activities. As a result, the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve appeared on the site of meteorite fall. It is 132 kilometers from Alice Springs. And tourists are advised to visit these places from April to September.
L’astroblème de Rochechouart-Chassenon (department of Upper Vienne, France). Coordinates: 45 ° 49 ’27 “N, 0 ° 46′ 54” E.
This crater is the most popular in all of France. After the fall of the meteorite in Roshuara, a breed was formed, which for several hundred years was used for construction, mainly castles. Scientists in the XVIII-XIX centuries interested in strange rock footprints at the very foot of the castle Roshshuar, as well as in the surrounding area. Then it was decided that this is the result of an eruption of an ancient volcano. But in 1969 the truth was finally clarified. French geologist Francois Kraut of the National Institute of Natural History was able to prove that the traces appeared as a result of the fall of a certain cosmic body. It happened 214 million years ago. For the past time, there are not even clear circular boundaries of the crater, but according to calculations, its diameter was about 23 kilometers, and the depth is 700 meters. The diameter of the asteroid was about 750 meters, and it crashed into the Earth at a speed of 20 kilometers per second. The mass of the meteorite, according to approximate estimates, was about one billion tons!
The Lake Bosumtwi impact crater (Ashanti province, Ghana). Coordinates: 6 ° 30 ’18 “N, 1 ° 24’30” W.
There are many lakes in Africa. One of the most beautiful in the western part of the continent is Lake Bosumtvi. It is located 30 kilometers from the city of Kumasi. The maximum depth of the reservoir is 80 meters, and the diameter is 8 kilometers. Bosumtvi is surrounded on all sides by a green tropical forest. This place is very picturesque, especially at sunset. Since ancient times, the lake has been considered a sacred place. It is believed that on its shores come the souls of the dead, in order to bid farewell to the deity of the Twi. The lake was filled with a crater of diameters of 10.5 kilometers. It was formed because of the meteorite falling here about a million years ago. In this case, the crater has an interesting feature. Tektit was formed in it. These pieces of black and dark green glass appeared during the melting of the earth due to the impact of the asteroid. Tectites are a rarity, they were found only in four craters on Earth. Scientists believe that the cosmic body, whose track was found in West Africa, had a diameter of about half a kilometer. The strength of the blow is indicated by the fact that the tektites were scattered 1,000 km from Bosumtwi.
The Upheaval Dome crater (Utah, USA). Coordinates: 38 ° 26’13 “N, 109 ° 55’45” W.
The name of this crater is literally translated as an “inverted dome”. Visually, this formation of cosmic origin is one of the most unusual on the planet. The crater is located in the Canyonlands National Park, near the town of Moab. Its appearance resembles an ordinary canyon, just a strange shape. Perhaps, that is why the “Inverted Dome” for a long time did not recognize the crater. This happened only in 2008, when quartz particles were found here. It appeared due to the melting of the rock at high temperature. On the rocks were also found traces of severe explosions. But its appearance is possible only when colliding with the planet of a large asteroid, or in a nuclear explosion. But it is not possible in these places at all. On the basis of this crater was officially included in the number of other shock locations on Earth. Over time, scientists even were able to name the time when the meteorite collided with our planet. It happened 170 million years ago, and the result was a crater 10 kilometers in diameter. The exact size of the asteroid, as well as its composition, the scientists have not yet learned.
The Lonar lake crater (Maharashtra, India). Coordinates: 19 ° 58’36 “N, 76 ° 30 ’30” E.
A four-hour drive from the Indian city of Aurangabad has a salt lake called Lonar. Around him goes a lot of myth and legends. The most popular of them is that once there was an underground shelter in this place. There, the demon Lonusar was hiding, which ruined the surrounding villages. Then the god Vishnah incarnated as a beautiful young man and was able to seduce the evil sisters. They told me where their demon brother was hiding. Learning about the shelter, Vishnu was able to kill Lonasur. The demon’s blood turned into water, and his flesh – into salt. However, scientists have their own version of the appearance of the lake. 50 thousand years ago a meteorite fell here. He hit the basalt rock, forming a crater of diameters of 1800 meters and a maximum depth of 150 meters. A source opened at the site of the fall, which quickly filled the depression with water. So there was formed a salty, impenetrable lake, which also has an unpleasant smell. However, this stench of pilgrims does not bother. On the shores of the lake come thousands of pilgrims who aspire here on national holidays. But recently the unpleasant smell has ceased to confuse tourists already. After all, Lonar has a rich history, not only geological, but also cultural. Thanks to this, it is becoming more popular with tourists visiting India.
The Vredefort Crater (Free-State Province and North-West, South Africa). Coordinates: 26 ° 51’36 “S, 27 ° 15’36” E.
This crater, no doubt, is the most record among all of its brethren. First of all, it is among the largest in general in the entire solar system. The diameter of education is about 300 kilometers – this place could accommodate a small state. In addition, the South African crater can be considered the largest object with cosmic origin on Earth. It’s possible to compete with him unless the unexplored potential crater in Antarctica. But it is hidden under the ice, scientists can only guess that its diameter is about 500 kilometers. And the age of the crater in South Africa is 2 billion years, which makes it one of the oldest on the planet. The uniqueness of the object in Vredefort is also that it has a ringed or multi-ring structure, which is quite rare for such objects. Yes, and the cosmic object that generated such a crater can be considered one of the largest that ever faced the planet. The diameter of the asteroid was about 10 kilometers. The uniqueness of the crater Vredefort brought him in 2005 a place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. A crater is located at a distance of 120 kilometers from Johannesburg. You can get here in a few hours, but inspect the whole neighborhood is not enough for a week.
The Kaali Crater (island of Saaremaa, Estonia). Coordinates: 58 ° 22’22 “N, 22 ° 40’10” E.
Of all the impact craters on our planet, Kaali is the youngest. It was formed here only 4 thousand years ago. The fall of the meteorite of Kaali was even reflected in the epic of the Baltic and Scandinavian peoples. On the site of the crater a lake of the same name was formed with an asteroid. Its diameter was 110 meters. It became a place of pagan sacrifice to the gods. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, among the scientists, the popular version was that the Kaali Lake originated either as a result of human activity (it was dug for ritual purposes) or volcanic. Only in 1937 the geologist Ivan Reynvald found in the crater the remains of charred wood and particles of the cosmic body, in which there was an increased content of nickel. These facts finally confirmed the hypothesis of a meteorite falling here. It is believed that the weight of the space visitor was about 400 tons. Combustion in the atmosphere divided the meteorite into several pieces, which gave rise to 9 craters. Of these, Kaali became the largest. The diameter of the rest is from 15 to 40 meters, they are scattered nearby. These geological monuments are located 18 kilometers from the central city of the island of Saaremaa-Kuressaare.
There are many lakes in Karelia, almost all of them are of glacial origin. However, Lake Suavjärvi has a different story. It is located 56 kilometers to the north-west of Medvezhyegorsk. Outwardly, it does not differ much from others in this area. Nevertheless, the lake has a unique feature – it is located on the site of the most ancient impact crater on Earth. The age of this education is as much as 2.4 billion years! And discovered this crater quite recently. In the 1980s, Soviet geologists managed to find impact diamonds here. These are rare stones that can cut even ordinary diamonds found in kimberlite pipes. The presence of such unusual geological formations and confirmed the fact of the most ancient crater on the planet. Scientists hope in the near future to learn more about the size of the meteorite from the Proterozoic era and its composition. Today, in addition to age, scientists were able to identify approximately the original diameter of the crater. It was 16 kilometers in its time.
The name of this crater from the Maya language is translated as “demon mites”. Surprisingly, it was not his form or origin that gave him the name, but insects, which are abundant here. Meanwhile, the crater itself is rather well known. Its diameter is about 180 kilometers. It is believed that it appeared here 65 million years ago. The diameter of the meteorite that fell to Earth was 10 kilometers. The importance of the crater is that it could cause a fundamental change in the life of the planet. Part of the blow fell on the Gulf of Mexico. The impact caused a tsunami up to 100 meters high, and the dust particles raised for several years closed the Earth from the sun’s rays. Scientists believe that this meteorite could cause the extinction of dinosaurs and many life forms on the planet. And found the crater also relatively recently – in 1970, when they were looking for oil. It is the theory of the extraterrestrial origin of this geological object that explains why some objects weigh less than what is laid down.