The formation of craters is an amazing phenomenon that surprises thousands of people. When a meteorite, asteroid or a comet collides with the surface of any planet or a moon, a large hole is formed as a result of enormous force. Thank God, such craters are rare events that take place after thousands of years. They come in various sizes from a few meters to hundreds of kilometers and can be a recent one or an old one like two billion years old. It is believed that one of the oldest impact craters, Chicxulub, which caused dinosaurs to extinct 65 million years ago, had a diameter of 180 km.
Currently, there are 170 craters which are identified on the planet Earth. The majority of them are hardly recognizable anymore. The reason is the constant erosion, weathering processes, and transformation of tectonic plates over time. However, 5 of the most stunning craters which have escaped weathering are listed below.
Barringer Crater – USA
In the northern Arizona desert of the USA, the Barringer crater is the most beautiful preserved crater on Earth. Daniel Barringer was the first person who proved that it was created as a result of a meteor impact, not by a volcano. With a diameter of 1.2km and depth of 0.17km, Arizona crater was formed some 40,000 years ago when being hit by a meteorite.
Pingualuit Crater – Canada
Pingualuit means “where the land rises” in the local language. Pingualuit Crater was formed roughly 1.4 million years ago when a meteorite with the force of 8500 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs collided in today’s Quebec in Canada. Consequently, a big crater with a diameter of 3.44 km was formed. US Air Force plane discovered it in 1943. Currently, it is one of the deepest lakes in North America with a depth of 267 meters. It contains freshwater which gets accumulated via rain or snow as it has no apparent outlets or inlets.
Kaali Crater – Estonia
Kaali Meteorite Crater Field on the Estonian island of Saaremaa was formed when the meteorite broke to pieces at the altitude of 5-10 km and fell in fragments. The largest crater among the 9 craters which formed as a result is about 110 meters wide and 22 meters deep. All other craters lie nearby. The entire forest was burned down and the crater is considered as one of the youngest ones with the age of 7,600 years.
Amguid Crater – Algeria
Located in a remote and inaccessible area in southwestern Algeria, Amguid crater is almost 450-500 meters across and 30-65 meters deep. The actual measurement is still unknown as the crater is partly filled with windblown sand. The rim top is filled with sandstone blocks which are several meters big. The flat central part of the crater is composed of compacted eolian silts which if seen from space appears white due to light refracted. They are thought to be formed about 100,000 years ago.
Gosses Bluff Crater – Australia
Unlike the previous craters mentioned above, the 180 meters high Glosses Bluff crater in central Australia was formed by an asteroid or a comet some 142 million years ago. Scientists believe that at the time of impact, the crater was as huge as 22km in diameter but has now reduced to 6km due to erosion. The sacred site of Western Arrernte Aboriginal people is located about 175km west of Alice Springs and is known as Tonorala.