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Image: NASA

Imagine staring into the sky and seeing a tiny yellow dot, gradually getting closer. That dot doubles in size every second, until it slowly darkens the sky. You realize that this dot is actually the size of New York City and is screeching through the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound, coming right for you. This massive object will cause tsunamis, earthquakes and obliterate natural daylight for years… Oh… and it will kill you. Similar asteroid impacts have happened and will happen on numerous occasions in our earth’s history. Today we’ll show you the biggest impact craters by diameter.


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10. Barringer Crater, Arizona, US

Some 49,000 years ago a large nickel-iron meteorite “just” 150 ft across, weighing several hundred thousand tons (~300,000) and traveling at a speed of 40,000 miles per hour, hit Earth. The result of this meteor lies 55 km east of Flagstaff, Arizona and is called the Barringer Crater – the best preserved impact crater ever. The force generated by the impact was equal to the explosion of 20 million tons of TNT. Picture that.

It measures 0.75 miles (1.2 km) across, is 575 ft (175 m) deep and has a rim 148 ft (45 m) higher than the surrounding plain. Discovered in 1902, the Barringer Crater was named after Daniel Barringer, a successful mining engineer. Today it is still owned by his family and is also known as Meteor Crater, Coon Butte, and Canyon Diablo.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

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9. Lake Bosumtwi Crater, Ghana

About 30 km south-east of Kumasi, Ghana, in the crystalline bedrock of the West African Shield, lies Lake Bosumtwi, the country’s only natural lake. The impact of a meteorite some 1.3 million years ago, opened up hole in the ground with a 6 mile (10.5 km) diameter. The crater gradually got filled with water to form the lake we see today. Surrounded by dense rainforest, the Ashanti people consider it to be sacred. They think it’s the place where souls of the dead come to bid farewell to the god Twi.

Images: 1, 2, 3

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