Earth has been hit by several objects in the past leaving a dent on its surface called craters. Here is what NASA informs.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word crater? We all know that the surface of the Moon has lots of craters. Even our solar system was built on impacts of objects in space. Earth too has been hit by several asteroids and other objects creating craters on its surface. But it needs to be noted that not every object heading towards Earth reaches its ground mainly because of the atmospheric layers. Here are some of the biggest craters impact that dented the surface of the Earth. But before that it is important to know what is an impact crater?
According to the information provided by Space Place, NASA, “An impact crater is formed when an object like an asteroid or meteorite crashes into the surface of a larger solid object like a planet or a moon. To form a true impact crater, this object needs to be traveling extremely fast—many thousands of miles per hour! When a solid object crashes into something at these super fast speeds, it forms a crater regardless of how hard or tough it is.”
Here are some of the famous impact craters on Earth
Evidence of really big impacts – such as Arizona’s Meteor Crater – is harder to find on Earth. The impact history of our home world has largely been erased by weather and water or buried under lava, rock, or ice. Nonetheless, we still find new giant craters occasionally, NASA said. In 2019, a NASA glaciologist discovered a possible impact crater buried under more than a mile of ice in northwest Greenland.
That followed the finding, announced in November 2018, of a 19-mile-wide crater beneath Hiawatha Glacier – the first meteorite impact crater ever discovered under Earth’s ice sheets. Though these impact sites in northwest Greenland are only 114 miles apart, at present they do not appear to have formed at the same time.
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If the second crater, which has a width of over 22 miles, is ultimately confirmed as the result of a meteorite impact, it will be the 22nd largest impact crater found on Earth. “We’ve surveyed the Earth in many different ways, from land, air, and space – it’s exciting that discoveries like these are still possible,” said Joe MacGregor, a glaciologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who participated in both findings.
Craters on Earth
1. Meteor Crater: Meteor Crater (also known as Barringer Crater) in Arizona was the first crater discovered to be formed by an extraterrestrial impact. It formed 50,000 years ago from a meteorite that may have been up to about 150 feet wide traveling more than 28,000 mph, according to the information provided by NASA.
2. Vredefort Crater: Vredefort crater in South Africa is the largest known impact crater on Earth—almost 200 miles across. At over 2 billion years old, it is also one of the oldest. Because of erosion over this long time period, the crater is a bit difficult to see.