List of impact craters on Earth

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This list of impact craters on Earth contains a selection of the 190 confirmed craters (as of 2016)[1] given in the Earth Impact Database. To keep the lists manageable, only the largest craters within a time period are included. The complete list is divided into separate articles by geographical region.

Confirmed impact craters listed by size and age[edit]

These features were caused by the collision of large meteorites or comets with the Earth. 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. Time units are either in kiloannum (ka) or megaannum (Ma).

Young craters (10 ka or less)[edit]

Less than ten thousand years old, and with a diameter of 0.1 km (100 meters) or more. The EID lists only 7-8 such craters, and the largest in the last 100,000 years is the 4.5 km Rio Cuarto crater in Argentina,[2] though 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.[3]

The Kaali impacts (c. 2000 BC) during the Iron Age may have influenced Estonian and Finnish mythology,[5] the Campo del Cielo (c. 2000 BC) could be in the legends of some Native American tribes,[6][7] while Henbury (c. 2200 BC) has figured in Australian aboriginal oral traditions.[8]

Macha crater field map
One of the Kaali craters
Name Location Country Diameter
(approx. in km)
Age
(thousand years)
Date Coordinates
Wabar Rub' al Khali desert Saudi Arabia 0.1 0.2 ~1800 AD 21°30′N 50°28′E / 21.500°N 50.467°E / 21.500; 50.467
Kaali Saaremaa Estonia 0.1 4.0 2000 BC 58°24′N 22°40′E / 58.400°N 22.667°E / 58.400; 22.667
Campo del Cielo Chaco Argentina 0.1[7] 4.0 2000 BC 27°38′S 61°42′W / 27.633°S 61.700°W / -27.633; -61.700
Henbury Northern Territory Australia 0.2 4.2 2200 BC 24°34′S 133°8′E / 24.567°S 133.133°E / -24.567; 133.133
Morasko Stare Miasto Poland 0.1 5.0[9] 3000 BC 52°29′N 16°54′E / 52.483°N 16.900°E / 52.483; 16.900
Boxhole Northern Territory Australia 0.2 5.4 3400 BC 22°37′S 135°12′E / 22.617°S 135.200°E / -22.617; 135.200
Macha Sakha Republic Russia 0.3 7.3 5300 BC 60°6′N 117°35′E / 60.100°N 117.583°E / 60.100; 117.583
Rio Cuarto Córdoba Province Argentina 4.5 <10[2][4] <8000 BC 32°52.7′S 64°13.4′W / 32.8783°S 64.2233°W / -32.8783; -64.2233

The EID gives a size of about 50 meters for Campo del Cielo, but other sources quote 100 meters.[7]

Large craters (10 ka to 1 Ma)[edit]

From between 10 thousand years to 1 million years ago, and with a diameter of 1 km or more. For comparison, the famous Meteor Crater (or Barringer) is roughly 1 km. The largest in the last one million years is the 14-km Zhamanshin crater in Kazakhstan and has been described as being capable of producing a nuclear-like winter.[10]

However, if the source of the enormous Australasian strewnfield (c. 780 ka) will be found, it is suggested it could be a crater about 100 km across.[11][12]

Meteor crater, 1.2 km
Name Location Country Diameter (km) Age (thousand years) Coordinates
Tenoumer Sahara Desert Mauritania 1.9 21 22°55′5″N 10°24′27″W / 22.91806°N 10.40750°W / 22.91806; -10.40750
Meteor Crater Arizona United States 1.2 49 35°2′N 111°1′W / 35.033°N 111.017°W / 35.033; -111.017
Xiuyan Xiuyan China 1.8 50 40°21′N 123°27′E / 40.350°N 123.450°E / 40.350; 123.450
Lonar Maharashtra India 1.8 52 19°58′N 76°31′E / 19.967°N 76.517°E / 19.967; 76.517
Agoudal[13] Atlas Mountains Morocco 3.0 105 31°59′N 5°30′W / 31.983°N 5.500°W / 31.983; -5.500
Tswaing Pretoria Saltpan South Africa 1.1 220 25°24′32″S 28°4′58″E / 25.40889°S 28.08278°E / -25.40889; 28.08278
Zhamanshin Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 14.0 900 ± 100 48°24′N 60°58′E / 48.400°N 60.967°E / 48.400; 60.967

Larger craters (1 Ma to 10 Ma)[edit]

Elgygytgyn, 18 km
Bosumtwi, 10 km

From between 1 and 10 million years ago, and with a diameter of 5 km or more. If uncertainties regarding its age are resolved, then the largest in the last 10 million years would be the 52-km Karakul crater which is listed in EID with an age of less than 5 Ma, or the Pliocene. 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.[14]

Name Location Country Diameter (km) Age (million years) Coordinates
Bosumtwi Ashanti Ghana 10 1.1 6°30.3′N 1°24.5′W / 6.5050°N 1.4083°W / 6.5050; -1.4083
Elgygytgyn Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Russia 18 3.5 67°30′N 172°00′E / 67.500°N 172.000°E / 67.500; 172.000
Bigach Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 8 5.0 48°34′N 82°1′E / 48.567°N 82.017°E / 48.567; 82.017
Karla Tatarstan Russia 10 5.0 54°55′N 48°2′E / 54.917°N 48.033°E / 54.917; 48.033
Karakul Pamir Mountains Tajikistan 52 <5?[15][16] 39°1′N 73°27′E / 39.017°N 73.450°E / 39.017; 73.450 (Kara-Kul)

Largest craters (10 Ma or more)[edit]

Craters with a diameter of 20 km or more are all older than 10 Ma, with the exception of Karakul which seems to have an uncertain age. There are more than forty such craters. 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.[17]

Acraman crater, 85-90km
Name Location Country Diameter (km) Age (million years) Coordinates
Vredefort Free State South Africa 300 2023 27°0′S 27°30′E / 27.000°S 27.500°E / -27.000; 27.500 (Vredefort)
Sudbury Ontario Canada 250 1849 46°36′N 81°11′W / 46.600°N 81.183°W / 46.600; -81.183 (Sudbury)
Chicxulub Yucatán Mexico 180 66 21°20′N 89°30′W / 21.333°N 89.500°W / 21.333; -89.500 (Chicxulub)
Popigai Siberia Russia 100 35 71°39′N 111°11′E / 71.650°N 111.183°E / 71.650; 111.183 (Popigai)
Manicouagan Quebec Canada 100 215 51°23′N 68°42′W / 51.383°N 68.700°W / 51.383; -68.700 (Manicouagan)
Acraman South Australia Australia 90 580 32°1′S 135°27′E / 32.017°S 135.450°E / -32.017; 135.450 (Acraman)
Morokweng Kalahari Desert South Africa 70 145 26°28′S 23°32′E / 26.467°S 23.533°E / -26.467; 23.533 (Morokweng)
Kara Nenetsia Russia 65 70 69°6′N 64°9′E / 69.100°N 64.150°E / 69.100; 64.150 (Kara)
Beaverhead Idaho and Montana United States 60 600 44°15′N 114°0′W / 44.250°N 114.000°W / 44.250; -114.000 (Beaverhead)
Tookoonooka Queensland Australia 55 112-133 27°7′S 142°50′E / 27.117°S 142.833°E / -27.117; 142.833 (Tookoonooka)
Charlevoix Quebec Canada 54 342 47°32′N 70°18′W / 47.533°N 70.300°W / 47.533; -70.300 (Charlevoix)
Siljan Ring Dalarna Sweden 52 377 61°2′N 14°52′E / 61.033°N 14.867°E / 61.033; 14.867 (Siljan)
Karakul Pamir Mountains Tajikistan 52 5?, 25? 39°1′N 73°27′E / 39.017°N 73.450°E / 39.017; 73.450 (Kara-Kul)
Montagnais Nova Scotia Canada 45 50.5 42°53′N 64°13′W / 42.883°N 64.217°W / 42.883; -64.217 (Montagnais)
Araguainha Central Brazil Brazil 40 244.4 16°47′S 52°59′W / 16.783°S 52.983°W / -16.783; -52.983 (Araguainha)
Chesapeake Bay Virginia United States 40 35 37°17′N 76°1′W / 37.283°N 76.017°W / 37.283; -76.017 (Chesapeake Bay)
Mjølnir Barents Sea Norway 40 142 73°48′N 29°40′E / 73.800°N 29.667°E / 73.800; 29.667 (Mjølnir)
Puchezh-Katunki Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Russia 40 167 56°58′N 43°43′E / 56.967°N 43.717°E / 56.967; 43.717 (Puchezh-Katunki)
Saint Martin Manitoba Canada 40 227 51°47′N 98°32′W / 51.783°N 98.533°W / 51.783; -98.533 (Saint Martin)
Woodleigh Western Australia Australia 40 364 26°3′S 114°40′E / 26.050°S 114.667°E / -26.050; 114.667 (Woodleigh)
Carswell Saskatchewan Canada 39 115 58°27′N 109°30′W / 58.450°N 109.500°W / 58.450; -109.500 (Carswell)
Clearwater West Quebec Canada 36 290 56°13′N 74°30′W / 56.217°N 74.500°W / 56.217; -74.500 (Clearwater West)
Manson Iowa United States 35 74 42°35′N 94°33′W / 42.583°N 94.550°W / 42.583; -94.550 (Manson)
Slate Islands Ontario Canada 30 450 48°40′N 87°0′W / 48.667°N 87.000°W / 48.667; -87.000 (Slate Islands)
Yarrabubba Western Australia Australia 30 1130-2600 27°10′S 118°50′E / 27.167°S 118.833°E / -27.167; 118.833 (Yarrabubba)
Keurusselkä Western Finland Finland 30 1400-1500 62°8′N 24°36′E / 62.133°N 24.600°E / 62.133; 24.600 (Keurusselkä)
Shoemaker Western Australia Australia 30 1630? 25°52′S 120°53′E / 25.867°S 120.883°E / -25.867; 120.883 (Shoemaker)
Mistastin Newfoundland and Labrador Canada 28 36.4 55°53′N 63°18′W / 55.883°N 63.300°W / 55.883; -63.300 (Mistastin)
Clearwater East Quebec Canada 26 290 56°04′N 74°06′W / 56.067°N 74.100°W / 56.067; -74.100 (Clearwater East)
Kamensk Southern Federal District Russia 25 49 48°21′N 40°30′E / 48.350°N 40.500°E / 48.350; 40.500 (Kamensk)
Steen River Alberta Canada 25 91 59°30′N 117°38′W / 59.500°N 117.633°W / 59.500; -117.633 (Steen River)
Strangways Northern Territory Australia 25 646 15°12′S 133°35′E / 15.200°S 133.583°E / -15.200; 133.583 (Strangways)
Tunnunik Northwest Territories Canada 25 130-450 72°28′N 113°58′W / 72.467°N 113.967°W / 72.467; -113.967 (Tunuunik)
Boltysh Kirovohrad Oblast Ukraine 24 65.17 48°54′N 32°15′E / 48.900°N 32.250°E / 48.900; 32.250 (Boltysh)
Nördlinger Ries Bavaria Germany 24 14.3-14.5 48°53′N 10°34′E / 48.883°N 10.567°E / 48.883; 10.567 (Nördlinger Ries)
Presqu'île Quebec Canada 24 less than 500 49°43′N 74°48′W / 49.717°N 74.800°W / 49.717; -74.800 (Presqu'ile)
Haughton Nunavut Canada 23 39 75°23′N 89°40′W / 75.383°N 89.667°W / 75.383; -89.667 (Haughton)
Lappajärvi Western Finland Finland 23 73.3 63°12′N 23°42′E / 63.200°N 23.700°E / 63.200; 23.700 (Lappajärvi)
Rochechouart France France 23 201 45°49′27″N 0°46′54″E / 45.82417°N 0.78167°E / 45.82417; 0.78167 (Rochechouart)
Gosses Bluff Northern Territory Australia 22 142.5 23°49′15″S 132°18′28″E / 23.82083°S 132.30778°E / -23.82083; 132.30778 (Gosses Bluff)
Amelia Creek Northern Territory Australia 20 600-1660 20°55′S 134°50′E / 20.917°S 134.833°E / -20.917; 134.833 (Amelia Creek)
Logancha Siberia Russia 20 40 65°31′N 95°56′E / 65.517°N 95.933°E / 65.517; 95.933 (Logancha)
Obolon' Poltava Oblast Ukraine 20 169 49°35′N 32°55′E / 49.583°N 32.917°E / 49.583; 32.917 (Obolon')

Large unconfirmed craters[edit]

The largest unconfirmed craters 200 km or more are significant not only for their size, but also for the possible coeval events associated with them. For example, the Wilkes Land crater has been connected to the massive Permian–Triassic extinction event.[18]

Name Location Country Diameter (km) Age (million years) Coordinates
Australian impact structure Northern Territory Australia 600 545
Shiva crater offshore of India India 500 65
Wilkes Land crater Wilkes Land Antarctica 480-500 250-500
Nastapoka arc Nunavut/Quebec Canada 450 unknown 57°00′N 78°50′W / 57.000°N 78.833°W / 57.000; -78.833 (Hudson Bay)|
Ishim impact structure[19] Akmola Region Kazakhstan 300 460-430[20] 52°0′N 69°0′E / 52.000°N 69.000°E / 52.000; 69.000 (Akmola)
Bedout offshore of Western Australia Australia 250 250
East Warburton Basin Southern Australia Australia 200+ 300-360

All craters listed alphabetically[edit]

As of 2016, the Earth Impact Database (EID) contains 190 confirmed craters. 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 global distribution of known impact structures apparently shows a surprising asymmetry,[21] with the small but well-funded European continent having a large percentage of confirmed craters. It is suggested this situation is an artifact, highlighting the importance of intensifying research in less studied areas like South America and elsewhere.[21]

Asia
Americas
Africa
Europe
Australia
Continent Continent's %
of Earth's
land area
Continent's %
of known
craters
Number
of craters
Asia & Russia 30% 16% 31
Africa 20% 10% 20
North America 16% 32% 60
South America 12% 6% 11
Antarctica 9% 0% 0
Europe 7% 22% 41
Australia 6% 14% 27
Total 100% 100% 188


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Earth Impact Database". 
  2. ^ a b c P. Bland et al. (2002). A possible tektite strewn field in the Argentinian Pampa, Science, Volume 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1109-1112
  3. ^ a b "Rio Cuarto". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  4. ^ a b P. Schultz and R. Lianza (1992). "Recent grazing impacts on the Earth recorded in the Rio Cuarto crater field, Argentina", Nature 355, p. 234-237 (16 January 1992)
  5. ^ Haas, Ain; Andres Peekna; Robert E. Walker. "ECHOES OF ANCIENT CATACLYSMS IN THE BALTIC SEA" (PDF). Electronic Journal of Folklore. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  6. ^ Giménez Benítez; et al. "Meteorites of Campo del Cielo: Impact on the indian culture". 
  7. ^ a b c Peter T. Bobrowsky, Hans Rickman (2007). Comet/asteroid impacts and human society: an interdisciplinary approach. Springer. pp. 30–31. ISBN 3-540-32709-6. 
  8. ^ Duane W. Hamacher; John Goldsmith. "Aboriginal oral traditions of Australian impact craters" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Wojciech Stankowski, Anto Raukas, Andrzej Bluszcz, and Stanisław Fedorowicz. "Luminescence dating of the Morasko (Poland), Kaali, Ilumetsa, and Tsõõrikmäe (Estonia) meteorite craters" (PDF). 
  10. ^ Essay "Impact Cratering on Earth", based on: R.A.F. Grieve, 1990, Impact cratering on the Earth, Scientific American, v. 262, 66-73.
  11. ^ Povenmire H., Liu W. and Xianlin I. (1999) "Australasian tektites found in Guangxi Province, China,"] 30th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, March 1999.
  12. ^ Glass B.P. and Pizzuto J.E. (1994) "Geographic variation in Australasian microtektite concentrations: Implications concerning the location and size of the source crater," J of Geophysical Research, vol 99, no E9, 19075-19081, Sept 1994.
  13. ^ "Agoudal". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  14. ^ University of New South Wales (19 September 2012). "Did a Pacific Ocean meteor trigger the Ice Age?". Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Kara-Kul". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  16. ^ Gurov, E. P., Gurova, H.P., Rakitskaya, R.B. and Yamnichenko,A.Yu. (1993). "The Karakul depression in Pamirs - the first impact structure in central Asia" (PDF). Lunar and Planetary Science XXIV, pp. 591-592. 
  17. ^ "Russia's Popigai Meteor Crash Linked to Mass Extinction". June 13, 2014. 
  18. ^ Gorder, Pam Frost (June 1, 2006). "Big Bang in Antarctica – Killer Crater Found Under Ice". Ohio State University Research News. 
  19. ^ Frank Dachille. "Frequency of the formation of large terrestrial impact craters". 
  20. ^ Zeylik B. S.; Seytmuratova E. Yu, 1974: A meteorite-impact structure in central Kazakhstan and its magmatic-ore controlling role. Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR: 1, Pages 167-170
  21. ^ a b Prezzi, C.; Orgeira, M.; Acevedo, R. et al (2011). Geophysical characterization of two circular structures at Bajada del Diablo (Patagonia, Argentina): Indication of impact origin, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, Volume 192, p. 21-34.

External links[edit]