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Tabun Khara Obo

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 44.1310 N 109.6541 E
No:374        (list of all attractions)
Categories:Impact craters and meteorites
Address:Asia, Mongolia, central part of the remote Dornogovi Province, Gobi desert
Alternate names:Tabun-Khara-Obo, Tabun Khyara Obo, Tavan Har
Diameter:1230 - 1360 m
Depth:20 - 30 m
Tabun Khara Obo, Mongolia
Tabun Khara Obo in 2003 / Karl W. Wegmann, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

The best known impact crater in Mongolia is Tabun Khara Obo - well exposed, saucer-formed depression.


Diameter of this crater (between rims) is between 1,230 and 1,360 m. The circular rim is elevated above the surroundings, but it is not very distinct, with several discontinuities. Bottom of crater is located some 20 - 30 metres deeper than rims.

The age of impact is not known. Meteorite here met approximately 600 million years old Proterozoic rocks - schist, gneiss and amphibolite.

Earlier this crater was much deeper - now it is filled with up to 171 m thick layer of saline lake deposits. On top of these deposits are some metres of wind blown sand. This means that for most part of its history this crater was filled with lake - similar to Lonar crater in India and some other craters around the world.

Tabun Khara Obo, Mongolia
Tabun Khara Obo from the space, August 2009 / NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite, public domain

Discovery and research

It is not known with certainty when this crater was discovered but first specialists who saw it were I.T.Zotkin and V.I.Tsvetkov, who noticed this structure from air in 1960s, scientific description was done by O.Suetenko and L.Shkerin in 1970. They considered that this most likely is an impact structure.

This was proved by drilling in the centre of crater in 2008, when specialists discovered rocks metamorphized by the explosion of meteorite and having the characteristic planar deformations.


See Tabun Khara Obo on the map of Mongolia!


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