When you think of a crater, you probably think of the incredible shapes, dips and shadows in the moon. But there are some incredible and mesmerizing craters a lot closer to home that you can see for yourself. Craters are formed when a comet, meteoroid or asteroid crashes into a planet – in this case, Earth. Since the beginning of time, scientists have recorded over 170 impact craters on our planet, and here are some of the best in the world!
Lonar Crater Lake
Lonar Crater Lake is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful craters on Planet Earth. The crater is located in Maharashtra, in the western region of India and is said to have been formed around 50,000 years go by a meteoroid. As the shock created a huge crater, a lake began to form in the center and now rocks up an impressive diameter of 3,900 feet. Over the centuries, locals have associated the crater with the god, Vishnu, and surrounded the crater with temples and monuments.
This impressive crater is located in South Africa and has become one of the major landmarks in the country – even having its own museum! The Tswaing Crater was formed 220,000 years go by a stony meteorite (or chondrite) that once hit the Earth. The force of the meteorite created an intense crater that has since turned into a lake full to the brim with rainwater and spring water. As scientists try and uncover more about the history of the crater, they have found stone-age tools that show this location was one of the main sources of water and salt for our ancestors.
Wolfe Creek Crater
Wolfe Creek Crater looks like a still from a NASA image of Mars. But in fact, this crater resides in Australia. The age of the Wolfe Creek Crater is expected to be around 300,000 years old and was formed when a meteorite crashed into the surface of the Earth. When the crater was first formed, it created a 120-meter deep hole – but over time, as the harsh winds of the desert have blown sand across it, it now lies 60 meters deep. Over the past few decades, scientists have scanned the inside of the crater and found numerous iron meteorites on the floor and buried underneath the sand.
Barringer Crater in Arizona is often regarded as one of the most impressively preserved craters in human history. It was first discovered by Daniel Barringer, whose family still own the rights to the crater. It’s said that this crater was formed over 40,000 years ago after an iron meteorite struck the Earth, and caused the 170-meter deep crater. It’s said that on impact, the meteorite was traveling at an impressive speed of 12.8 km per second, which is why the crater was so perfectly formed.
The Kaali Crater can often be mistaken as a lake – but in that case, it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world! This crater resides on the Estonian island of Saaremaa and dates back to the 4th century BC. The most incredible aspect of this crater is that there isn’t just one. Instead, as the meteorite fell towards Earth, it broke into smaller pieces and struck the Earth in nine locations around this island. The largest and most popular crater is 22 meters deep, 110 meters wide and is now a freshwater lake.