The biggest meteorites to hit the earth

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Meteorites have been scarring our planet as long ago as 3 billion years. Nowadays some are still visible, but others are all covered up either by vegetation, or have simply eroded through time. Here are some of the most interesting.

1) The Chicxulub Crater

Located in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, the massive crater is approximately 180km in diameter. The impact would have created one of the biggest tsunamis along with a wall of fire and ash.

The asteroid hit earth during the Cretaceous period (66 million years ago), which has led scientists to believe that this asteroid had some influence of the dinosaurs extinction. Although this hypothesis is still argued as some believe this was 300,000 years before the mass extinction.

Chicxulub crater

Chicxulub crater

2) The Vredefort Dome

Finally, my home county has made an impact on the earth (see what I did there). The massive 300km wide crater ranges from Johannesburg to Welkom. This huge asteroid hit earth at an estimated 36,000km/h around about 2 billion years ago.

It is called a dome as the rocks formed a dome like appearance around it. Much of the original crater has eroded away, but there is still a tad left for us to view. It has been confirmed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Satellite image of Vredefort crater

Satellite image of Vredefort crater

3) The Manicouagan Crater

This crater located in Canada is one of the most well preserved craters in the world. The extent of the asteroid, which hit earth approximately 215 million years ago (Triassic period), has created modern day Lake Manicouagan.

The impact structure is said to be 100-70km wide, and today it forms a circular lake with an island in the centre.

Manicouagan Crater

Manicouagan Crater

4) Popigai Crater

The 100km wide crater in Siberia is designated as a World Heritage Site due to the amazing amount of diamonds found at the site. The area was off limits for the longest time as the crater was mined for its rich minerals under the rule of Stalin.

Further investigation has revealed the crater is approximately 35 million years old, hitting the planet during the Eocene geological epoch. When the asteroid hit, its impact and the graphite in the ground created trillions of carats of ‘impact diamonds’.

Diamonds! Diamonds everywhere

Diamonds! Diamonds everywhere

5) The crater in Greenland

Last year scientists discovered what could have been the biggest and oldest crater ever found. The crater is expected to have been around 500km in diameter, although now through erosion, the crater is about 100km wide. It dates back to 3 billion years old, making the oldest impact structure ever recorded!

Scientists have recorded the asteroid was probably around 30km wide when it hit earth, which would wipe out pretty much everything!

The Greenland Crater

The Greenland Crater

There are around 180 impact craters which have been discovered. Most likely, there are many more around which have either been completely eroded, or covered up by earth’s plates.

*I do not own these images

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