In the spirit of it being Asteroid Day, I’ve rounded up ten of the largest asteroid impacts of all time in no particular order. In order to understand the impact asteroids have on Earth, it’s important to know where they come from.
Asteroids are chunks of rock leftover from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most asteroids can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
1. Vredefort Crater
About two billion years ago, an enormous asteroid crashed into the area now known as Free State in South Africa. The crater’s diameter of 190 kilometres makes it the largest known asteroid impact site. Also known as the Vredefort Dome, the crater was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.
2. Chicxulub crater
This impact site on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is estimated to range from 170 to 300 kilometres in diameter. Some scientists believe this site holds prehistoric value and contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
3. Sudbury Basin
Dubbed the second-largest known impact crater on Earth, somewhat 1.8 billion years ago. The force of the asteroid impacted Ontario, Canada, and measures 130 kilometres across.
This crater became a lake as the giant holes eventually filled up with water. The Canadian reservoir is about 215 million ears old and has a diameter of 100 kilometres. Even accounting for erosion from the water, it’s still one of the best preserved impact in the world.
5. Acraman crater
About 580 million years ago, an asteroid struck South Australia. It created this giant hole which is now located at the bottom of Lake Acraman, and it measures about 90 kilometres wide.
6. Morokweng crater
Located near the Kalahari desert and nearly 145 million years old. Morokweng contains the fossilised remains of the meteorite buried beneath the desert.
7. Kara crater
The impact structure on the Kara sea coast of Russia is one of the youngest craters on the list. About 70.3 million years old, this crater is suffered significant erosion.
8. Chesapeake Bay
The smallest crater on the list estimates a width of 85 kilometres located in Virginia. It was formed when an asteroid struck Earth about 35 million years ago.
9. Woodleigh crater
This Western Australian crater was created by an asteroid that hot Earth around 364 million years ago. Due to the lack of
At 100 kilometres wide, the Popigai crater isn’t the biggest impact site but perhaps it’s the most valuable. It’s located in Siberia, Russia and contains one of the largest diamond deposits on Earth. Apparently, when the asteroid struck 35.7 million years ago diamonds were created.