10 Biggest Asteroid Impact Sites on Earth

Recently on 23rd 2012, an asteroid entered earth’s atmosphere above Russia which is recorded as the closest approach of a known object of this size. That asteroid injured over 1000 people in Russia; think what a 100 mile wide asteroid can do. Our planet has not always been so lucky. Since the inception of earth, many asteroids and comets hit it and now we can trace them through their marks. Do you know the Moon-Earth system was formed from an indirect collision between earth and an asteroid, similar in size of Mars? After reading the following list of 10 Biggest Asteroid Impact Sites on Earth, you might feel broody about the future.

10. Puchezh-Katunki Crater

Puchezh-KatunkiPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Puchezh-Katunki is a meteor crater in the Volga Federal District, Russia. It is estimated that it was 80 km in diameter and 167 million years old, in the middle Jurassic period. The crater is not revealed to the upper surface of the earth but appears as the variation in the vegetation.

9. Chesapeake Bay Crater

Chesapeake BayPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Chesapeake Bay crater was formed by meteors that impacted the eastern shore of the Virginia, North America 35 million years ago. It is estimated that it was 85 km in diameter. It is the largest known impact crater in the United States. Until 1983, no one knows about this crater buried beneath the lower part of the Chesapeake Bay.

8. Acraman Crater

Biggest Asteroid Impact Sites on Earth- AcramanPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Acraman crater is a big impact crater in the Gawler Ranges of South Australia. Some scientists estimate the diameter of meteor was up to 90 km with 5.2 megatons of TNT energy. The impact is estimated to have occurred about 580 million years ago during the Ediacaran period.

7. Popigai Crater

Popigai Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

The Popigai crater in Siberia, Russia is the seventh largest impact crater on earth. It is estimated that the meteor was 100 km in diameter and occurred about 35 million years ago. Now this area is reserved for high quality diamond which is useful for industrial and scientific application. In 2012, Russian government claimed that there are enough diamonds to supply global requirements for next 3000 years.

6. Manicouagan Crater

ManicouaganPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

The Manicouagan crater is one of the oldest impact craters occurred about 215 million years ago. Now it is located in the cote Nord region of Quebec, Canada. It is the largest visible impact crater on earth and estimated around 100 km in diameter. Now there is a lake, Manicouagan reservoir surrounding by an inner island, Rene Levasseur Island.

5. Kara Crater

KaraPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Kara is a meteor crater in the Nenetsia, Russia. It was 120 km in diameter and the age is estimated to be 70 million years old. It also believed that there were two different craters and they formed a twin impact structure from a big meteorite hit.

4. Woodleigh Crater

Woodleigh is the largest impact crater in Western Australia. Its size is unknown, some scientists believe that it might be up to 160 km in diameter. This crater is around 364 million years old and occurred between the late Triassic and late Permian period. It is estimated that it was 100 time stronger than volcanic or earthquake activity.

3. Chicxulub Crater

Chicxulub Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Chicxulub crater is located near the town of Chicxulub, Mexico. The Chicxulub asteroid is 65 million years old and is more than 180 km in diameter. It implicated in the K-T extinction, it was a mass extinction of more than three quarter of plants and animals including dinosaurs on land. This impact is widely attributed to bringing the end of the dinosaurs.

2. Sudbury Crater

SudburyPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Sudbury crater is located on the Canadian Shield, in the city of Greater Sudbury, Ontario. It is estimated that it was 250 km in diameter and occurred 1.8 billion years ago. It is the second largest known impact crater, as well as one of the oldest. Now the crater is filled with magma containing copper, nickel, gold and other metals in molted form. Due to the high mineral efficiency, the land is among the best for agricultural use.

1. Vredefort Crater

VredefortPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

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Vredefort crater is located in the Free State Province of South Africa. It is the largest verified impact crater on earth. The crater is estimated to be 2 billion years old and was 300 km in diameter. In 2005, UNESCO added it in the list of world heritage sites.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is an experienced science and technology journalist interested in machines, AI, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out what his latest project is, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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