Wonder

Tabun Khara Obo

Tabun Khara Obo in 2003, Mongolia
Tabun Khara Obo in 2003 / Karl W. Wegmann, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

WorldBlue  In short

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

4.5 out of 10 stars 45.3%

GPS coordinates
44.1310 N 109.6541 E
Location, 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
Age
Unknown

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Description

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. The bottom of the crater is located some 20 – 30 meters deeper than the 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 meters of wind-blown sand. This means that for the most part of its history this crater was filled with a lake – similar to Lonar crater in India and some other craters around the world.

Tabun Khara Obo from the space, August 2009
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.

References

  1. О.Д. Суетенко, Л.М. Шкерин. Предполагаемый метеоритный кратер в юго-восточной Монголии. Астрономический вестник, 1970.
  2. Tsolmon Amgaa. Impact Origin of Tabun Khara Obo Crater, Mongolia, Confirmed by Drill Core Studies. 2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009).
Tabun Khara Obo is included in the following article:

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