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Impact craters and meteorites

Outstanding impact craters and meteorites

Pingualuit crater, Canada
Pingualuit crater, Canada / Lkovac, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Below are listed some of the most amazing and visually most interesting impact craters known on Earth, arranged by the part of the world and in an alphabetic order:

Africa

Hoba meteorite, Namibia
Hoba meteorite, Namibia / Damien du Toit, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.
  • Amguid crater - Algeria, Tamanghasset. Well preserved impact crater, less than 100,000 years old. Diameter – 500 - 530 m, 65 m deep.
  • Aorounga crater – Chad, Borkou. Remnant of eroded impact crater with a diameter 12.6 km. Formed 345 million years ago or more recently. Looks impressive on satellite images.
  • Aouelloul crater - Mauritania, Adrar. Well preserved impact crater. Formed approximately 3.1 million years ago (Pliocene). Diameter 390 m.
  • BP Crater - Libya, Kufra. Old, eroded, but nevertheless visible impact crater. Diameter – 2 km, less than 120 million years old.
  • Dar al Gani meteorite field - Libya, Jufra. A desert plateau – a famous site where more than 1200 meteorites have been found with total mass over 690 kg. Meteorites here have accrued over an extended time period.
  • Hoba meteorite – Namibia, Otjozondjupa. The largest known single-piece meteorite and the largest known natural piece of iron on Earth. The stone fell some 80,000 years ago, it weighs more than 60 tons, 2.7 by 2.7 m long.
  • Lake Bosumtwi - Ghana, Ashanti. The most recent medium sized impact crater, 10.5 km across, formed 1.07 million years ago. Filled with 8 km wide lake – the largest natural lake in Ghana. Surrounded by a dense rainforest.
  • Kalkkop crater - South Africa, East Cape. Some 250,000 years old impact crater. Diameter – 640 metres. Crater now is filled with light limestone deposits and is visible as a white circle.
  • Kamil crater - Egypt, New Valley Governorate. Well preserved, less than 5,000 years old impact crater. Width is 44.8 m, depth – 15.8 m. Around the crater still visible the rayed structure created by the blast.
  • Roter Kamm crater – Namibia, Karas. Approximately 4 - 5 million years old impact crater. Diameter of the crater is 2.5 km, depth – 130 m. It was deeper earlier – the bottom is covered with 100 m thick layer of sand.
  • Tenoumer crater - Mauritania, Tiris Zemmour. Well visible, interesting impact crater. Diameter – 1.9 km, depth 110 m, age – approximately 21,400 years.
  • Tswaing crater - South Africa, Gauteng. Approximately 220,000 years old impact crater, 1.13 km in diameter, up to 119 m deep. At the bottom of the crater is hypersaline lake. People have visited this crater over the last 100,000 years.
  • Vredefort crater - South Africa, Free State Province. The largest verified impact crater on Earth. This 160 m wide impact crater was created 2 billion years ago by a bolide 5 – 10 km in diameter.

Asia

Fallen trees in the site of Tunguska event, Russia
Fallen trees in the site of Tunguska event in 1929, Russia / Expedition of Leonid Kulik, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
  • Elgygytgyn Lake – Russia, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Impact crater, filled with a lake. The lake is approximately 15 km in diameter, with a maximum depth of 175 m. Diameter of the crater is 18 km. Formed in Pliocene, 3.6 million years ago. The lake has never been covered with glaciers.
  • Lonar crater – India, Maharashtra. A meteorite crater filled with saltwater lake. The bolide hit the basaltic rock approximately 570,000 years ago. The diameter of the crater is 1.8 km, with 1.2 km wide lake in it, depth of crater – around 150 m.
  • Popigai crater – Russia, Krasnoyarsk Krai. Giant impact crater with a diameter of 100 km. Created approximately 35.7 million years ago (Eocene) by a 5 – 8 km large bolide. Here are found up to 1 cm large diamonds created by the impact.
  • Sikhote-Alin meteorite strewn field - Russia, Primorsky Krai. A 1.3 km² large area, where in 1947 fell a meteorite shower with joint mass of 70 tons. The largest crater was 26 m across and 5 m deep.
  • Tunguska event epicentre – Russia, Krasnoyarsk Krai. The site where an enormous explosion took place in June 30 1908. It is considered that this blast was caused by large meteoroid and is the largest impact in land in the newest history of Earth. Similar event in metropolitan area would lead to death of millions of people.
  • Wabar craters (al-Hadida meteors) – Saudi Arabia, Eastern Province. Unusual impact craters in the desert of Arabia. Legendary site, where iron meteorites of large size have been found. Well preserved craters show that the impact was very recent, most likely - the early 18th century.

Australia and Oceania

Wolfe Creek Crater, Australia
Wolfe Creek Crater, Australia / Kookaburra, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
  • Boxhole crater – Australia, Northern Territory. Well visible impact crater, with a diameter of 170 m. Formed some 5,400 m years ago.
  • Henbury meteorite craters – Australia, Northern Territory. A group of 13 – 14 meteorite craters with a diameter from 7 to 180 m, up to 15 m deep. Here have been found several tonnes of meteorites. Formed some 4,200 years ago.
  • Mahuika Crater – New Zealand, near Snares Islands. Potential impact crater on the bottom of sea, 20 km wide and more than 153 m deep. It is possible, that the meteorite fell sometimes around 1443 AD, creating incredible tsunami waves up to 220 m high.
  • Veevers crater – Australia, Western Australia. One of the best preserved small impact craters, formed some 4000 years ago. Diameter – 75 m, depth – 7 m.
  • Wolfe Creek Crater – Australia, Western Australia. Very well preserved impact crater, one of most impressive ones. Formed some 300,000 years ago, diameter – 875 m, depth – up to 60 m.

Europe

Kaali crater, Estonia
Kaali crater, Estonia / Siim Ainsaar, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Kaali crater - Estonia, Saaremaa. Fairly recent (7 600 – 4 000 years old), well preserved meteorite craters. The largest crater has a diameter of 110 m and 22 m depth. It has a lake at its bottom and exposed limestone along its rim. The fall of meteorite created legends.
  • Nördlinger Ries – Germany, Bavaria. Enormous impact crater – a large circular depression with a diameter of 24 km. Formed 14.3 – 14.5 million years ago (Miocene). Currently the crater is 100 – 150 m deep, at some places there are exposed the rims.

North America

  • Meteor crater (Barringer crater) – United States, Arizona. Visually the most impressive meteorite impact crater on Earth. Diameter of the crater is about 1,180 m, depth – 170 m. The outer side of the rim rises 45 m high above the surrounding plains. The bottom is covered with 210 – 240 m thick layer of rubble. Impact took place some 49,000 years ago.
  • Clearwater Lakes – Canada, Quebec. A pair of large meteorite craters – two connected lakes. Diameter of lakes – 26 and 36 km, both created in Permian (290 million years ago). The larger lake has a ring-shaped circle of islands in the centre.
  • Chicxulub crater – Mexico, Yucatán. Ancient impact crater, with a diameter more than 180 km. One of the largest impact craters on Earth. It was shaped 65 million years ago and it is considered that this fall of bolide led to the great extinction of dinosaurs and many other animals and plants.
  • Haughton impact crater – Canada, Nunavut. This impact crater is located in very remote area on Devon Island. Diameter – 23 km, formed some 39 million years ago (Eocene). Permafrost has helped to preserve this impact crater very well and the site is considered to have a very similar environment to Mars.
  • Manicouagan Reservoir – Canada, Quebec. Enormous, ring-shaped reservoir, formed in impact crater. The impact took place 214 million years ago, shaping approximately 100 km wide crater. The central part of the lake is taken by the enormous René-Levasseur Island, with 2,020 km² area.
  • Pingualuit crater (Chubb Crater) – Canada, Quebec. Well pronounced and well preserved impact crater, 3.44 km in diameter. Formed some 1.4 million years ago, in Pleistocene. Rims of the crater rise 160 m above the tundra. Depth of crater is 400 m, it is partly filled with 267 m deep Pingaluit lake. Lake water is one of the purest in the world.
  • Upheaval Dome – United States, Utah. Deeply eroded but nevertheless well visible impact crater. Diameter – 5 km, age – less than 170 million years (Jurasssic). Now here are well seen the eroded central dome of the structure.

South America

Monturaqui Crater, Chile
Monturaqui Crater, Chile / Rudolf Reiser, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Carancas impact site – Peru, Puno. Site, where in September 2007 fell a meteorite. It created 4.5 m deep and 13.5 m wide crater. Some local people later became ill, the nature of this illness is not explained.
  • Campo del Cielo – Argentina, Chaco and Santiago del Estero. A strewn field of iron meteorites, which fell some 4 – 5 thousand years ago. The largest meteorite fragment weighs 37 tonnes and is the second heaviest after Hoba meteorite, total weight of meteorites – more than 60 tonnes. 26 impact craters, the largest is 115 by 91 m large.
  • Monturaqui Crater – Chile, Antofagasta. Well pronounced meteorite crater, 350 – 370 m in diameter and less than 1 million years old.
  • Vargeão Dome – Brazil, Santa Catarina. Less than 70 million years old impact crater – a circular depression with steep walls. Diameter – 12 km, up to 225 m deep.

Other articles

Map of described impact craters and meteorites

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