Impact Craters on Earth

Impact craters on earth are difficult to preserve due to the continuous remodeling 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.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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