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Image that says Giant Impact.Image of the Meteor Crater in northern Arizona.

Craters on Earth
Almost everyone knows about Meteor Crater in northern Arizona. Although it is nearly a mile across it is tiny compared to the craters seen on other planets. Does Earth have any big craters? It was not until we began to look at Earth using satellites that we began to see lots of big impact craters on Earth--about 150 are now known. This map shows the locations of some of them. Meteor Crater. Photo courtesy of D. Reddy.

Test your skill at finding impact craters! Click on the numbered squares to get a satellite image of that area of the Earth. On the image that appears, see if you can find any impact craters.

Image of a map that displays the Earth's impact crater sites. Please have someone assist you with this.
Site 1
| Site 2 | Site 3 | Site 4 | Site 5 | Site 6 | Site 7 | Site 8 

You will find that some craters are easy to locate, but some are not. Why are Earth's craters so hard to find sometimes? Most craters on the Moon and other planets are very, very old. Since craters are made by objects crashing into a planet's surface, each time a crater is formed there is one less object in space available to form another crater. Most of the objects that could make craters did so a long time ago, so now most of these objects are gone! Only a few objects remain that could have hit the planets to form new craters. Look carefully at the map above. Are most of the craters on young land or old land?

The surface of Earth was once covered with large craters. But the Earth's surface has an active atmosphere. Wind and rain quickly erode craters and plate tectonics buries them. So only a few craters made in the last few hundred million years can be found at all!

But did an impact kill the dinosaurs? If you haven't already, select square #3 (the Yucatan Peninsula) on the Finder Map to see a possible culprit!

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Giant Impacts
A Global Disaster!
Craters on the Moon and Planets
Image of a star. Craters on Earth
Can They Hit?
Asteroids
Comets

 

 
             
     
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Giant Impacts | A Global Disaster! | Craters on the Moon and Planets | Craters on Earth | Can They Hit? | Asteroids | Comets

Giant Impact | Super Nova | Disease | Volcanoes | Orbital Changes | Meet the Dinosaurs | Into the Future

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Last updated on
April 28, 2005

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