Earth is constantly bombarded by space debris. Fortunately, most of them burn up as they enter our atmosphere, but some fall to the ground, leaving the incredible effect of craters.
Impact craters occur on every planetary body in our solar system, regardless of size. By studying impact craters and the meteorites that caused them, we can learn about the processes and geology that make up our entire solar system.
This list includes some of the most interesting effects of craters on Earth:
1. Barringer Crater, USA
Barringer Crater, often called Meteor Crater, is located near Winslow, Arizona, USA and is the first meteor crater confirmed to have been caused by an extraterrestrial impact.
The crater is about a kilometer in diameter and about 50,000 years old, so it is quite “young”. We have known about the crater since the late 19th century, but there is debate as to whether it is the result of an impact or linked to the nearby volcanic province.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that high-pressure forms of quartz were recognized in rocks until meteorite fragments were seen nearby before scientists could say with certainty that it was a meteorite effect.
The crater is an active research area. The fact that it is so well preserved makes it the perfect place to learn about the bump impact process. Since the early days of Apollo, Barringer Crater has also been used to train astronauts. This training continues to this day as astronauts learn from the Artemis mission how to navigate terrains like they would encounter on the Moon, and a bit of geology.
2. Chicxulub Crater, Mexico
Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, this 180-kilometer-wide crater is the second largest impact crater on Earth and dates to 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared.
For years, geologists have searched for recorded mass extinctions in rocks around the world. That didn’t happen until the discovery of iridium, an element found in more meteorites than Earth, where the meteorites fell.
The object that hit the ground was estimated to be 10 kilometers in diameter and moving at a speed of 20 kilometers per second. That’s about 5 minutes to commute from Sydney to Los Angeles.
And it wasn’t just dinosaurs that were wiped out, as an estimated 75% of Earth’s plant and animal species were lost as a result of this event.
The impact can be catastrophic immediately, with effects that last for decades. There were huge tsunamis and forests burned all over the world. Sunlight evaporates perhaps years of ash and gases, leading to a global winter in which many species are wiped out.
3. Vredefort, South Africa
Crater impacts can be a source of economic resources. For example, an impact can lead to a concentration of minerals in situ before the formation of an impact crater, and this is the case in the Vredefort Structure in South Africa, where it is estimated that more than a third of the world’s gold has been found. taken from here.
The Vredefort impact structure is the largest confirmed impact crater on Earth, about 2 billion years old. The diameter of the original crater was thought to be up to 300 kilometers, but it has collapsed significantly.
The impact revealed some of the oldest rocks on the planet. It is one of the few places where you can see the complete geological record of the ancient third of Earth’s history, with rocks ranging in age from 2.1 to 3.5 billion years.
4. Tannoralla Crater (Bato ng Gansa Gos Bluff), Australia
Australia is home to 30 impact craters, and these impressive geological structures are often considered sacred places by local Aboriginal communities.
The Gosse’s Bluff impact crater is known to the people of West Arrernte as “Tnorala”.
Today, Tanurala is 4.5 kilometers in diameter and 150 meters above the surrounding desert, but when it first formed 142 million years ago, it was probably closer to 24 kilometers wide and collapsed over time.
5. Northern RiesGermany
Nördlinger Ries Crater, also known as Ries Crater, was formed about 14 million years ago and is about 24 km wide.
The town of Nördlingen lies within the crater just south of the center. If you climb the bell tower, you can see the edge of the crater.
Most of the buildings in the city, including the church, were built using impact rocks.
The crater contains layers of rocks and minerals that are better preserved than almost anywhere else in the world. During the impact, the graphite is subjected to very high pressure and temperature. Due to this pressure, the graffiti is transformed into millions of small diamonds that hit the buildings of the city.
The impact also affected a layer of sandy material near the surface, creating glassy green tektites. Tektites are glass formed when meteorites hit the Earth’s surface and are often found hundreds or thousands of kilometers from the original impact site.
Source: Arabic RT