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Our planet is constantly visited by guests from space. Nevertheless, some cosmic bodies reach the surface of the Earth.
They leave evidence of their visit - large craters. The more interesting it will be to learn about the most famous craters on Earth.
The Barringer crater (Arizona, USA). Coordinates: 35 ° 1′38 ″ N, 111 ° 1′21 ″ W. The Barringer meteorite crater is not without reason considered the most famous in the world. After all, visually it stands out noticeably. Many films have been made about this place, and its image is constantly exhibited as an example of the fact that some large cosmic body collided with our planet at one time. NASA astronauts trained in the crater in the 1960s before their flight to the moon. Scientists have solved the mystery of the crater. It appeared about 50 thousand years ago, when a meteorite 50 meters in diameter fell here. It consisted of iron and weighed 300 thousand tons. As a result of the impact, a crater with diameters of 1200 meters was formed. Its maximum depth is 170 meters. Exploration of the crater began in 1902. Then the land plot with a strange huge pit was bought by engineer Barringer. He began drilling here to find a huge iron meteorite. The fact is that the engineer, unlike many of his contemporaries, believed in the cosmic origin of the crater. So Barringer decided to find proof of his theory - a meteorite, and at the same time to get rich selling metal. Although he did not receive money there, he was able to prove the version of the origin of the crater. Since then, these lands have remained in the possession of his descendant. The crater itself was named Barringer and eventually brings income. The engineer's family receives money not for the found metal, but for visiting numerous tourists.
Das Steinheimer Becken (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Coordinates: 48 ° 41 ′ 2 ″ N, 10 3′54 ″ E. The German community of Steinheim am Albuch, at first glance, is quite common in this country. Small old towns and small villages are scattered here, and the fields are carefully tended. But if you climb some kind of hill, it becomes clear that all this is inside the real meteorite crater! Its diameter is 3.8 kilometers. A crater was formed on Earth 14-15 million years ago, when a large cosmic body fell here. Initially, the depth of the pit was 200 meters, it was occupied by a lake. But when the first people came here, the water had already left. As a result of water activity, natural erosion and human actions, the area has noticeably changed its appearance. Today, in the very center of this crater, there is a hill with a monastery on it. Below there are two towns - Steinheim and Sontheim. In the first one, since 1978, a museum dedicated to an extraterrestrial guest has been opened. It is curious that nearby, in Bavaria, there is an analogue of the crater in Steinheim - Nordlinger Ries. Its diameter is as much as 24 kilometers. But despite this, the crater in Baden-Württemberg is much better known.
Henbury craters (Northern Territory, Australia). Coordinates: 24 ° 34 ′ 9 ″ S, 133 ° 8 ′ 54 ″ E. Water is wealth for Australia. Nevertheless, the local natives never drank the rare rainwater that accumulates in the depressions of the red earth. According to their beliefs, this is the bait of a fire devil who wants to take the lives of people. It is likely that the ancestors of the aborigines witnessed an event that took place here about 4 thousand years ago. It gave rise to such beliefs. Once a half-ton meteorite, consisting of iron and nickel, entered the earth's atmosphere. Burning there, it fell apart into 12 parts, each of which left a crater on Earth. The smallest of them is 6 meters in diameter, and the largest is 182 meters. In 1899, Europeans discovered them, naming them after the nearby Henbury pasture. And that, in turn, was named in honor of the English town where the owners were from. In the middle of the 20th century, scientific work began on the discovery of the remains of a meteorite. In total, more than 50 kilograms of debris were found. The largest of them weighed 10 kilograms. The Australian Government has decided to preserve this unique landscape from human interference and human activities. As a result, the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve appeared at the site of the meteorite impact. It is 132 kilometers from Alice Springs. And tourists are recommended to visit these places from April to September.
L'astroblème de Rochechouart-Chassenon (Haute Vienne department, France). Coordinates: 45 ° 49 ′ 27 ″ N, 0 ° 46 ′ 54 ″ E. This crater is the most popular throughout France. After the fall of the meteorite in Rochechouar, a rock was formed, which for several hundred years was used to build, mainly castles. Scientists in the 18th-19th centuries were interested in strange rock tracks at the very foot of the Rochechouart castle, as well as in the nearby area. Then it was decided that this is the result of the eruption of an ancient volcano. But in 1969, the truth was finally clarified. French geologist François Kraut of the National Institute of Natural History was able to prove that the tracks appeared as a result of the fall of a certain cosmic body here. It happened 214 million years ago. Over the past time, not even clear circular boundaries of the crater have remained, but according to estimates, its diameter was about 23 kilometers, and its depth was 700 meters. The diameter of the asteroid was about 750 meters, and it crashed into the Earth at a speed of 20 kilometers per second. The mass of the meteorite was, according to rough estimates, about a billion tons!
The Lake Bosumtwi impact crater (Ashanti region, Ghana). Coordinates: 6 ° 30 ′ 18 ″ N, 1 ° 24′30 ″ W. There are many lakes in Africa. One of the most beautiful in the western part of the continent is Lake Bosumtvi. It is located 30 kilometers from the city of Kumasi. The maximum depth of the reservoir is 80 meters, and the diameter is 8 kilometers. Bosumtwi is surrounded on all sides by green rainforest. This place is very picturesque, especially at sunset. Aboriginal people have long considered the lake a sacred place. It is believed that the souls of the dead come to its shores in order to say goodbye to the deity Twi. The lake filled a crater with a diameter of 10.5 kilometers. It was formed due to a meteorite falling here about a million years ago. Moreover, the crater has an interesting feature. Tektite has formed in it. These chunks of black and dark green glass appeared when terrestrial rocks melted from an asteroid impact. Tektites are very rare, they were found in only four craters on Earth. Scientists believe that the space body, whose trace was found in West Africa, had a diameter of about half a kilometer. The force of the blow is evidenced by the fact that the tektites were scattered at a distance of 1000 kilometers from Bosumtvi.
The Upheaval Dome crater (Utah, USA). Coordinates: 38 ° 26′13 ″ N, 109 ° 55′45 ″ W. The name of this crater literally translates as "inverted dome". Visually, this formation of cosmic origin is one of the most unusual on the planet. The crater is located in the Canyonlands National Park, near the town of Moab. Its appearance resembles an ordinary canyon, just of a strange shape. Perhaps that is why the Inverted Dome was not recognized as a crater for a long time. This happened only in 2008, when quartz particles were found here. It appeared due to the melting of rocks at high temperatures. Traces of a strong explosion were also found on the rocks. But its appearance is possible only in a collision with a planet of a large asteroid, or in a nuclear explosion. But he is not possible in these places. Based on this, the crater was officially listed as one of the other impact sites on Earth. Over time, scientists were even able to name the time when the meteorite collided with our planet. It happened 170 million years ago, and the result was a crater 10 kilometers in diameter. The exact size of the asteroid, as well as its composition, scientists have not yet learned.
The Lonar lake crater (Maharashtra, India). Coordinates: 19 ° 58′36 ″ N, 76 ° 30 ′ 30 ″ E. A four-hour drive from the Indian city of Aurangabad is the Lonar salt lake. There are many myths and legends around him. The most popular of them says that once there was an underground shelter on this place. The demon Lonusar was hiding there, which ravaged the surrounding villages. Then the god Vishna incarnated in the form of a beautiful youth and was able to seduce the sisters of the villain. They told where their demon brother was hiding. Upon learning about the shelter, Vishnu was able to kill Lonasura. The demon's blood turned to water, and his flesh to salt. However, scientists have their own version of the appearance of the lake. 50 thousand years ago, a meteorite fell here. It hit a basalt rock, forming a crater with diameters of 1800 meters and a maximum depth of 150 meters. At the site of the fall, a spring was discovered, which quickly filled the depression with water. So a salty, impervious lake was formed here, which also has an unpleasant smell. However, this stench does not bother the pilgrims. Thousands of pilgrims come to the shores of the lake, who come here on national holidays. But recently, the unpleasant smell has ceased to bother tourists. After all, Lonard has a rich history, not only geological, but also cultural. Thanks to this, it is becoming more and more popular with tourists visiting India.
The Vredefort Crater (Free State and Northwest Provinces, South Africa). Coordinates: 26 ° 51′36 ″ S, 27 ° 15′36 ″ E. This crater is undoubtedly the most record-breaking of all its brethren. First of all, it is one of the largest in general in the entire solar system. The diameter of the formation is about 300 kilometers - a small state could be located on this place. In addition, the South African crater can be considered the largest object of cosmic origin on Earth. Only an unexplored potential crater in Antarctica can compete with it. But it is hidden under a layer of ice, scientists can only guess that its diameter is about 500 kilometers. And the age of the crater in South Africa is 2 billion years, which makes it one of the oldest on the planet. The uniqueness of the object in Vredefort also lies in the fact that it has a ringed or multi-ring structure, which is quite rare for such objects. And the space object that gave rise to such a crater can be considered one of the largest ever colliding with the planet. The diameter of the asteroid was about 10 kilometers. The uniqueness of the Vredefort crater earned it a place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. And the crater is located at a distance of 120 kilometers from Johannesburg. You can get here in a few hours, but a week is not enough to explore all the surroundings.
The Kaali Crater (Saaremaa Island, Estonia). Coordinates: 58 ° 22′22 ″ N, 22 ° 40′10 ″ E. Of all the impact craters on our planet, Kaali is the youngest. It was formed here only 4 thousand years ago. The fall of the Kaali meteorite was even reflected in the epic of the Baltic and Scandinavian peoples. In place of the crater, a lake of the same name with the asteroid was formed. Its diameter was 110 meters. It became a place of pagan sacrifices to the gods. In the 18th-19th centuries, a popular theory among scientists was that Lake Kaali arose either due to human activity (it was dug for ritual purposes), or volcanic. It was only in 1937 that geologist Ivan Reinwald found in the crater the remains of charred wood and particles of a cosmic body, in which there was an increased content of nickel. These facts finally confirmed the hypothesis of a meteorite falling here. It is believed that the weight of the space guest was about 400 tons. Burning in the atmosphere split the meteorite into several pieces, which gave birth to 9 craters. Of these, Kaali became the largest. The diameter of the rest is from 15 to 40 meters, they are scattered nearby. These geological monuments are located 18 kilometers from the central town of Saaremaa - Kuressaare.
Suavjarvi (Russia, Republic of Karelia). Coordinates: 63 ° 7′N, 33 ° 23′E. There are many lakes in Karelia, almost all of them are of glacial origin. However, Lake Suavjärvi has a different story. It is located 56 kilometers northwest of Medvezhyegorsk. Outwardly, it is not much different from others in this area. Nevertheless, the lake has a unique feature - it is located on the site of the oldest impact crater on Earth. The age of this formation is as much as 2.4 billion years! And this crater was discovered quite recently. In the 1980s, Soviet geologists managed to find impact diamonds here. These are rare stones that can cut even common diamonds found in kimberlite pipes. The presence of such unusual geological formations confirmed the fact of the most ancient crater on the planet. Scientists hope to learn more about the size of the meteorite from the Proterozoic era and its composition in the near future. Today, in addition to age, scientists were able to roughly identify the initial diameter of the crater. It was at one time 16 kilometers.
Chicxulub (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico). Coordinates 21 ° 24'00 "N, 89 ° 31'00" W. The name of this crater is translated from the Mayan language as "demon of ticks". Surprisingly, the name was given not by its shape or origin, but by insects that are abundant here. Meanwhile, the crater itself is quite famous. Its diameter is about 180 kilometers. It is believed that it appeared here 65 million years ago. The diameter of the meteorite that fell to Earth was 10 kilometers. The importance of the crater is that it could cause radical changes in the life of the planet. Part of the blow fell on the Gulf of Mexico. The impact caused a tsunami up to 100 meters high, and dust particles raised upward blocked the Earth from the sun's rays for several years. Scientists believe that this meteorite could have caused the extinction of dinosaurs and many life forms on the planet. And the crater was also found relatively recently - in 1970, when they were looking for oil here. It was the theory of the extraterrestrial origin of this geological object that explained the fact why some objects here weigh less than they should.