16 Biggest Craters in the Solar System

18 Aug 2016 08:31 599
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All the way from deep space to north America there are giant craters everywhere and they are amazing and need to be explored!

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9. Manicouagan
This crater is roughly the same size as Popigai and is one of the best preserved craters on the planet. It is filled by a lake in Quebec, Canada and is a little over 200 million years old. Though it is not the biggest crater NASA says that it is the easiest crater to spot from space. It is believed to have been created by an asteroid a little over 3 miles wide. Today the lake is a popular salmon fishing destination and a reservoir.

8. Sudbury
No one knew what exactly caused this 1.8 billion year old crater until 2014 when it was discovered that a huge comet did the deed. The basin is located in Ontario, Canada and rock fragments ejected by the impact have been found as far away as Minnesota. It was originally 160 miles across making it the third largest impact crater ever discovered on earth. Today the full extent of the basin is 39 miles long, 19 miles wide and a little over 9 miles deep. Geologists first reached a consensus that the basin was caused by a meteor in 1970.

7. Copernicus
This crater is located on the moon and is so big that you can see it using binoculars. If you are interested in trying to find it, it is located slightly northwest of the center of the Moon’s Earth-facing hemisphere. The crater is about 60 miles wide and is a relatively new crater as far as Moon craters go; it is believed to be less than a billion years old.

6. Chicxulub
This huge crater is located underneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and it hit Earth approximately 66 million years ago. Its diameter is an incredible 110 miles and it goes 12 miles deep. As amazing as its size is, the effects of the asteroid’s impact were even more staggering. It caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and most other life on the planet. The mega tsunami the impact created was one of the largest in the history of Earth that would have reached all the way to Florida. Dust and particles would have covered the earth’s surface for years afterwards, maybe even a decade. Scientists were able to reach ground zero of the crater and collect samples for the first time in May of this year.

5. Vredefort
This is the second oldest crater ever discovered on Earth and was made when an asteroid struck the planet over 2 billion years ago. Located in South Africa, most of the crater has actually eroded away, but the original crater was thought to have been 190 miles across. The asteroid that caused this crater is thought to be about 3 to 6 miles in diameter. The reason such a small asteroid was able to cause such a big crater is that it was thought to be going a blazing fast 45 thousand miles per hour when it struck Earth.

4. Australian Meteorite Crater
Two deep scars were discovered in outback Australia that mark the remains of a meteorite crater with a whopping 250 mile diameter, which is the largest crater ever found on Earth. Discovered in 2015, the meteorite is believed to have split in two just before colliding with the earth’s surface. No one knows exactly when the impact occurred as scientists can’t find an extinction event that matches the collisions, but it is strongly believed to have been over 300 million years ago. The crater was discovered recently so there will surely be more revelations made in the coming years.

3. Pingualuit
This large lake filled crater was first observed by the crew of a United States Army Air Force plane in June of 1943, though it has long been known to the local Inuit people as the “Crystal Eye of Nunavik.” It has been concluded that it was made from the impact of a meteorite roughly 1.4 million years ago. The crater rises 525 feet above the surrounding tundra and the 876 foot deep lake that fills its depression is one of the deepest lakes in North America.

2. Valhalla
Found on Jupiter’s moon Callisto, Valhalla has a large multi-ring system whose outer rings extend up to 1,180 miles from its central region. The crater was first discovered by the Voyager probes, which first took pictures of Callisto in 1979 and it is the largest multi-ring impact crater in the Solar System.

1. South Pole Aitken
This huge impact crater is located on the far side of the moon and is one of the largest craters in the solar system. It has a diameter of roughly 1,600 miles and is a little over 8 miles deep. It is by far the biggest and deepest confirmed crater ever found on the Moon. The crater was first discovered in the mid 1960’s but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the topography of the basin was fully mapped.

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