As of 2017[update], the Earth Impact Database (EID) contains 190 confirmed craters. 28 April 2014. [1] To keep the lists manageable, only the largest craters within a time period are included. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. This list of impact craters on Earth contains a selection of the 190 confirmed craters given in the Earth Impact Database. The Johannesburg group is the most famous one because it was here that gold was discovered in 1886. Please refresh the page and try again. (2005). Struik Publishers, Cape Town. Alphabetical lists for different continents can be found under #Craters by continent below. Becky Oskin - Contributing Writer More than 300 kilometres (190 mi) across when it was formed,[1][2] what remains of it is in the present-day Free State province of South Africa. Buried under seafloor muds, Chesapeake Bay Crater offshore of Virginia is an estimated 35 million years old. p. 89–90, 102–107, 134–136. You will receive a verification email shortly. pp. To keep the lists manageable, only the largest craters within a time period are included. The largest in the last one million years is the 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) Zhamanshin crater in Kazakhstan and has been described as being capable of producing a nuclear-like winter. Even with erosion, it’s considered one of the largest and best-preserved craters on Earth, with an estimated diameter of 62 miles (100 kilometers). This list of impact craters on Earth contains a selection of the 190 confirmed craters given in the Earth Impact Database. New York, [8], For the Rio Cuarto craters, 2002 research suggests they may actually be aeolian structures. The crater is calculated to be 2.023 billion years old (± 4 million years), with impact being in the Paleoproterozoic Era. The remaining structure, the "Vredefort Dome", consists of a partial ring of hills 70 km (43 mi) in diameter, and is the remains of a dome created by the rebound of rock below the impact site after the collision. A meteorite or asteroid bigger than South Africa's Table Mountain blasted out the giant crater 2.02 billion years ago. 38–49, 60–61. [10] The EID gives a size of about 50 m (160 ft) for Campo del Cielo, but other sources quote 100 m (330 ft). It is the third-oldest known crater on Earth. Morokweng Crater is buried beneath South Africa's Kalahari Desert: Geologists discovered it through remote sensing surveys. It would have been larger than the 250 km (160 mi) Sudbury Basin and the 180 km (110 mi) Chicxulub crater. It is the second-oldest known crater on Earth, a little less than 300 million years younger than the Suavjärvi crater in Russia. It is named after the town of Vredefort, which is near its centre. The Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site is currently subject to property development, and local owners have expressed concern regarding sewage dumping into the Vaal River and the crater site. Parys is the largest and a tourist hub; both Vredefort and Koppies mainly depend on an agricultural economy. 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 crater's age is estimated to be 2.023 billion years (± 4 million years),[1] which places it in the Paleoproterozoic Era. The original crater is estimated to have had a diameter of roughly 300 km (190 mi),[2] but that has been eroded. [citation needed] For eroded or buried craters, the stated diameter typically refers to the best available estimate of the original rim diameter, and may not correspond to present surface features. Moving outwards towards where the crater rim used to be, the Ghaap Dolomite group resurfaces at 60 km (37 mi) from the centre, followed by an arc of Ventersdorp lavas, beyond which, at between 80 and 120 km (50 and 75 mi) from the centre, the Witwatersrand rocks re-emerge to form an interrupted arc of outcrops today. Our first lake-filled crater, Manicouagan in Quebec is one the largest and best-preserved crater on the planet. Geological map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (1970). Estimates of its original diameter range up to 150 miles (240 km) in diameter, and its current size is 93 miles (150 km). Visit our corporate site. Vredefort crater in South Africa, also called the Vredefort Dome, was originally 185 miles (300 kilometers) across, scientists estimate. 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. 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. 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. Norman, N., Whitfield, G. (2006) ‘’Geological Journeys’’. Rock fragments from the impact have been found in Minnesota, over 500 miles (800 km) away. [3] The bolide that created the Sudbury Basin could have been even larger.[4]. 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. 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. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, The station broadcasts on 94.9 MHz FM. Little remains at the surface of the 37-mile-wide (60 km) crater, which wasn't discovered until the 1990s. The 62-mile-wide (100 km) crater is 214 million years old. Morokweng Crater. 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.[18]. In 2019, scientists from the University of the Free State discovered 8,000-year-old carvings made by the Khoisan people. Some scientists think Chicxulub's original crater may have been bigger than Sudbury crater in Ontario. [2] However, there is some uncertainty regarding its origins[3] and age, with some sources giving it as < 10 ka[2][4] while the EID gives a broader < 100 ka. 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. 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. Perhaps the best-known example is Valhalla crater on Jupiter's moon Callisto. Researchers think the 40-mile-wide (65 km) crater was once more than 75 miles (120 km) in diameter. The remains of the meteorite that created this crater were still in its depth. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. It is suggested this situation is an artifact, highlighting the importance of intensifying research in less studied areas like Antarctica, South America and elsewhere.[29]. Chicxulub crater's discovery clinched what was once a wild theory: that a meteor impact wiped out the dinosaurs. The impact distorted the Witwatersrand Basin which was laid down over a period of 250 million years between 950 and 700 million years before the Vredefort impact. [3] 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. The oldest impact crater on Earth is also the largest. W indicates when the Witwatersrand Supergroup was laid down, C the Cape Supergroup, and K the Karoo Supergroup. [28] 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. For example, the Wilkes Land crater has been connected to the massive Permian–Triassic extinction event. 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.[15]. A timeline of the Earth's history indicating when the Vredefort crater was formed in relation to some of the other important South African geological events. Will our solar system survive the death of our sun. The crater is 62 miles (100 km) wide and holds massive diamond reserves, according to the Russian government. ", "8,000-year-old carvings by ancient humans discovered in world's biggest asteroid impact crater", "8,000-year-old Petroglyphs Found in the World's Biggest Meteor Crater", Impact Cratering Research Group – University of the Witwatersrand, Impact Cratering: an overview of Mineralogical and Geochemical aspects – University of Vienna, Google Earth 3d .KMZ of 25 largest craters, List of World Heritage Sites in South Africa, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vredefort_crater&oldid=985597581, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 October 2020, at 20:55.