These features were caused by the collision of meteors (consisting of large fragments of asteroids) or comets (consisting of ice, dust particles and rocky fragments) with the Earth.
Buried under seafloor muds, Chesapeake Bay Crater offshore of Virginia is an estimated 35 million years old.
Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? W indicates when the Witwatersrand Supergroup was laid down, C the Cape Supergroup, and K the Karoo Supergroup.
Council for Geoscience, Geological Survey of South Africa. "The Story of Earth and Life". Vredefort crater in South Africa, also called the Vredefort Dome, was originally 185 miles (300 kilometers) across, scientists estimate. In comparison, it is about 10% older than the Sudbury Basin impact (at 1.849 billion years).
It is the second-oldest known crater on Earth, a little less than 300 million years younger than the Suavjärvi crater in Russia. The largest two within the last hundred million years have been linked to two extinction events: Chicxulub for the Cretaceous–Paleogene and the Popigai impact for the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event.. The Vredefort crater /ˈfrɪərdəfɔːrt/ is the largest verified impact crater on Earth. It is suggested this situation is an artifact, highlighting the importance of intensifying research in less studied areas like Antarctica, South America and elsewhere.. Zeylik, B. S.; Seytmuratova, E. Yu; (1974); "A meteorite-impact structure in central Kazakhstan and its magmatic-ore controlling role", Rocca, Maximiliano C. L.; Presser, Jaime Leonardo Báez; (2015). Please refresh the page and try again.
Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. The bolide that created the Sudbury Basin could have been even larger. Impact ejecta from the crater can be found in the Flinders Range 185 miles (300 km) to the east, among rocks with fossils of the first complex life forms on Earth.
(2005). This list of impact craters on Earth contains a selection of the 190 confirmed craters given in the Earth Impact Database.
pp. 234–37 (16 January 1992), Povenmire, Harold; Liu, W.; Xianlin, Luo; (1999), Glass, Billy P.; Pizzuto, James E.; (1994). If uncertainties regarding its age are resolved, then the largest in the last 10 million years would be the 52-kilometre (32 mi) Karakul crater which is listed in EID with an age of less than five Ma, or the Pliocene. The crater measures 56 miles (90 kilometers) in diameter. © The asteroid that hit Vredefort is estimated to have been one of the largest ever to strike Earth (at least since the Hadean Eon some four billion years ago), thought to have been approximately 10–15 km (6.2–9.3 mi) in diameter. , For the Rio Cuarto craters, 2002 research suggests they may actually be aeolian structures. Clicking on the links in the column "Continent" will give a list of craters for that continent. The crater site is one of the few multiple-ringed impact craters on Earth, although they are more common elsewhere in the Solar System.
More than 300 kilometres (190 mi) across when it was formed, what remains of it is in the present-day Free State province of South Africa. The Witwatersrand rocks are followed, in succession, by the Ventersdorp lavas at a distance of about 35 km (22 mi) from the centre, and the Transvaal Supergroup, consisting of a narrow band of the Ghaap Dolomite rocks and the Pretoria Subgroup of rocks, which together form a 25-to-30-kilometre-wide (16 to 19 mi) band beyond that. It is the third-oldest known crater on Earth. One of the first microcontinents to form was the Kaapvaal Craton, which is exposed at the centre of the Vredefort Dome, and again north of Johannesburg.
The dome in the centre of the crater was originally thought to have been formed by a volcanic explosion, but in the mid-1990s, evidence revealed it was the site of a huge bolide impact, as telltale shatter cones were discovered in the bed of the nearby Vaal River.  The table below is arranged by the continent's percentage of the Earth's land area, and where Asian and Russian craters are grouped together per EID convention. The Johannesburg group is the most famous one because it was here that gold was discovered in 1886.
Here are the 10 biggest impact craters known, from largest to smallest. The largest unconfirmed craters 200 km (120 mi) or more are significant not only for their size, but also for the possible coeval events associated with them.
Time units are either in thousands (ka) or millions (Ma) of years. When the asteroid struck the Earth, it is said to have caused a dizzying wave of water that reached 1,500 feet in height . A schematic diagram of a NE (left) to SW (right) cross-section through the 2.020-billion-year-old Vredefort impact crater and how it distorted the contemporary geological structures.
, From about halfway through the Pretoria Subgroup of rocks around the crater centre, the order of the rocks is reversed. For example, the Wilkes Land crater has been connected to the massive Permian–Triassic extinction event.
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Sudbury crater in Ontario, Canada, clocks in at 81 miles (130 km) wide and 1.85 billion years old, close in age and size to Vredefort crater in South Africa.
 It is thus possible that if it had not been for the Vredefort impact this gold would never have been discovered.. For scoured or entombed craters the stated diameter typically refers to an estimate of … , However, the currently unknown source of the enormous Australasian strewnfield (c. 780 ka) could be a crater about 100 km (62 mi) across. This 600-million-year-old crater spans Montana and Idaho and is the second-largest impact crater in the United States. The station broadcasts on 94.9 MHz FM.  To keep the lists manageable, only the largest craters within a time period are included. , From between 1 and 10 million years ago, and with a diameter of five km (3.1 mi) or more.  This central peak uplift, or dome, is typical of a complex impact crater, where the liquefied rocks splashed up in the wake of the meteor as it penetrated the surface.
28 April 2014.
The remains of the meteorite that created this crater were still in its depth.
 The EID gives a size of about 50 m (160 ft) for Campo del Cielo, but other sources quote 100 m (330 ft). The EID lists fewer than ten such craters, and the largest in the last 100,000 years (100 ka) is the 4.5 km (2.8 mi) Rio Cuarto crater in Argentina.
There are more than forty craters of such size. The 62-mile-wide (100 km) crater is 214 million years old.
An artist’s concept of the giant asteroid or comet plunging into what is now Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago. Prezzi, Claudia B.; Orgeira, María Julia; Acevedo, Rogelio D.; Ponce, Juan Federico; Martinez, Oscar; Rabassa, Jorge O.; Corbella, Hugo; Vásquez, Carlos; González-Guillot, Mauricio; Subías, Ignacio; (2011); continent's percentage of the Earth's land area, List of impact craters in Asia and Russia, List of possible impact structures on Earth, "A possible tektite strewn field in the Argentinian Pampa", Planetary and Space Science Centre University of New Brunswick Fredericton, "Echoes of Ancient Cataclysms in the Baltic Sea", "Meteorites of Campo del Cielo: Impact on the indian culture", "Aboriginal oral traditions of Australian impact craters", "Luminescence dating of the Morasko (Poland), Kaali, Ilumetsa, and Tsõõrikmäe (Estonia) meteorite craters", "Australasian tektites found in Guangxi Province, China", "Geographic variation in Australasian microtektite concentrations: Implications concerning the location and size of the source crater", "Did a Pacific Ocean meteor trigger the Ice Age? Some 35 million years ago, a meteorite crashed into carbon-rich graphite rock deposits in Siberia, and the impact's immense pressures and temperatures converted the carbon into diamonds. Parys is the largest and a tourist hub; both Vredefort and Koppies mainly depend on an agricultural economy.  The granting of prospecting rights around the edges of the crater has led environmental interests to express fear of destructive mining.
(Image credit: J.Hills/Science Museum London). Will our solar system survive the death of our sun.
A drilling core revealed the first hints that a large impact crater was buried beneath the bay in 1983, when the core brought up an 8-inch-thick (20 centimeters) layer of impact ejecta. The global distribution of known impact structures apparently shows a surprising asymmetry, with the small but well-funded European continent having a large percentage of confirmed craters. Kara crater is a 70.3-million-year-old eroded crater exposed in Russia's Yugorsky Peninsula.
The overlying Ventersdorp lavas and the Transvaal Supergroup which were laid down between 700 and 80 million years before the meteorite strike, were similarly distorted by the formation of the 300-kilometre-wide (190 mi) crater. That's when shatter cones — cone-shaped, violently-shocked rock — were found in Beaverhead in southwestern Montana. The large but apparently craterless Eltanin impact (2.5 Ma) into the Pacific Ocean has been suggested as contributing to the glaciations and cooling during the Pliocene.. The crater is calculated to be 2.023 billion years old (± 4 million years), with impact being in the Paleoproterozoic Era. Alphabetical lists for different continents can be found under #Craters by continent below. The Earth's crust was wholly or partially molten during the Hadean Eon.
The asteroid that hit Vredefort is estimated to have been one of the largest ever to strike Earth (at least since the Hadean Eon some four billion years ago), thought to have been approximately 10–15 km (6.2–9.3 mi) in diameter.
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