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Impact Craters on Earth

Impact craters on earth are difficult to preserve, due to the continuous remodelling of the earth's crust by orogenesis, plate tectonics and atmospheric agents.

There are around 180 recognizable impact craters on earth, of which about 60 are now buried under sediments, a considerably lower number, for example, compared to the 360.000 craters on Mars or the 7.000 on the moon.
This thanks to the shield made by the earth's dense atmosphere.

Some of them have caused catastrophes, such as the meteorite that carved the Chicxulub crater in Mexico: according to the theory currently accepted by the scientific community postulated by the physicist Luis Álvarez and his son geologist Walter Álvarez, is widely thought to have caused 65 million years ago the end of the dinosaurs due to a tsunami and dust emissions which totally covered the earth's surface a cloud of dust for many years.

Others have instead brought wealth as the Popigai crater in Russia, whose impact transformed graphite into diamonds within about 13 km radius.

List of the biggest impact craters on earth:

1. Vredefort Dome, South Africa: 160 km diameter, 2.02 billion years old.
2. Chicxulub crater, Mexico: 150 km diameter, 65 million years old. 
3. Sudbury crater, Canada: 130 km diameter, 1.85 billion years old.
4. Popigai crater, Russia: 100 km diameter, 35 million years old. 
5. Manicouagan crater, Canada: 100 km diameter, 214 million years old.
6. Acraman crater, Australia: 90 km diameter, 580 million years old.
7. Chesapeake Bay crater, USA: 85 km diameter, 35 million years old.
8. Morokweng crater, South Africa: 70 km diameter, 145 million years old.
9. Kara crater, Russia: 65 km diameter, 70 million years old.
10. Beaverhead crater, USA: 60 km diameter, 600 million years old.

Wikimedia map link

Well preserved impact craters on earth:

Aouelloul crater, Mauritania
3,1 million years old, 390 m diameter, 53 m depth.

Aouelloul crater
© Digital Globe - Google Earth

Tenoumer crater, Mauritania
30.000 years old, 1,9 km diameter, 100 m depth.

Tenoumer crater
Credit: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

The Roter Kamm crater, Namibia
5 million years old, 2,5 km diameter, 130 m depth.

The Roter Kamm crater
Credit: NASA image

Lonar crater lake, India
50.000 years old, 1,2 km diameter, 137 m depth.

Lonar crater lake, India

Monturaqui crater, Chile
One million years old, 460 m diameter, 34 m depth.

Monturaqui crater, Chile

Gosses Bluff crater, Australia
142 million years old, 6 km diameter, 180 m depth.

Gosses Bluff crater, Australia

Pingualuit crater, Canada
1,4 million years old, 3,44 km diameter, 270 m depth.

Pingualuit crater, Canada
Credit: NASA image

Amguid crater, Algeria
100.000 years old, 450 m diameter, 30 m depth.

Amguid crater, Algeria

Wolfe Creek crater, Australia
300.000 years old, 875 m diameter, 25 m depth.

Wolfe Creek crater, Australia
Credit: NASA image

Barringer crater, USA
40.000 years old, 1,2 km diameter, 170 m depth.

The Rock of Guatapé, Colombia

 El Penon de Guatapé

Also known as Stone of Peñol (since this rock formation is claimed by both the bordering towns of Peñol and Guatapé) the Rock of Guatapé is a granitic monolith located in the Peñol - Guatapé reservoir, about 40 km East of Medellìn.

The rock is 200 meters high and it is surrounded by a magnificent lagoon, which is formed by the hydro-electric dam, built in the 1960-70s.

 Guatapé Lagoon

Visitors can reach the top of the rock climbing up the 650 steps on the stairway, enjoy the stunning view and visit two Benedictine monasteries.

Loktak Lake, India

Loktak Lake

Also known as the Floating Lake, the Loktak Lake, located in Bishnupur district of Manipur, about 50 km south of the city of Imphal, is the largest freshwater lake in North-Eastern India.

With a surface of 290 square kilometres, it is famous and unique for its floating islands named phumdis: masses of soil, organic matter and vegetation that hosts several species of animals and aquatic plants including the Sangai, a brow-antlered deer, state animal of Manipur.

Part of the lake houses the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating national park.