Science

World's Best Preserved Crater Found Using Google Earth

This crater, located in a remote area of the Sahara desert, was discovered by researchers using Google Earth. And that’s actually not even the coolest part. Kamil, as the crater is called, may actually be the world’s best preserved crater.

The Kamil crater was first spotted back in February when an Italian researcher was surveying satellite images from Google Earth. The crater measures 45m at its widest point and 16m deep at its deepest. Using those numbers, scientists estimate that the meteor that hit Earth was only 1.3m in diameter (but was travelling at 12,875km/h!).

But what stunned scientists was just how pristine the crater was. Typically, craters on Earth erode or get buried over time as Mother Nature and weather work their magic. In the case of Kamil, the bowl-shaped crater still had a splatter pattern of bedrock around it. The splatter pattern, known as ejecta rays, are more often seen on other planets and moons with thinner atmospheres – not on Earth.

According to Luigi Folco, the study leader:

This crater is really a kind of beauty because it’s so well-preserved that it will tell us a lot about small-scale meteorite impacts on the Earth’s crust. It’s so nice. It’s so neat. There is something extraordinary about it he said, adding that craters as pristine as Kamil are typically found only on Mars or on the moon, where there are fewer environmental and atmospheric forces to degrade them.

The scientists estimate that Kamil is only thousands of years old. Sort of crazy to think a freaking crater could stay unknown and untouched for so long. [Red Orbit]