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Satellite Images of Impact Craters and Structures

Satellite Images of Impact Craters and Structures Around the World


Satellite Image of Vredefort Crater, South Africa

Largest Impact Crater Found Around the World

300 km and 2.023 Billion Years

Coordinates – 27°0′S 27°30′E

Vredefort crater is the largest verified impact crater on Earth, more than 300 km across. It is located in the Free State Province of South Africa and named after the town of Vredefort, which is situated near its centre. The site is also known as the Vredefort Dome or Vredefort impact structure. In 2005 the Vredefort Dome was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its geologic interest.

The asteroid that hit Vredefort is estimated to have been one of the largest ever to strike Earth (at least since the Hadean eon some four billion years ago). The asteroid is thought to have been approximately 5–10 km (3.1–6.2 mi) in diameter. The bolide that created the Sudbury Basin could have been even larger. The Vredefort Crater’s age is estimated to be 2.023 billion years (± 4 million years), which places it in the Paleoproterozoic era. It is the second-oldest known crater on Earth, a little less than 300 million years younger than the Suavjärvi Crater in Russia. In comparison, it is about 10% older than the Sudbury Basin impact (at 1.849 billion years).

Satellite Images and Photos of Impact Craters and Structures Around the World

Credit: NASA/DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corp. All rights reserved

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