Asteroids are made of different kinds and metals, mostly nickel and iron, and of rocks. Some studies believed that they were leftovers from the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. They were also called “minor planets,” but they are smaller than the planets in the solar system, even smaller than the moons.
The asteroids have various characteristics such as 150 of them being known to have small “moons” orbiting them, and some have two. And there are also binary asteroids where two rocky bodies of roughly equal size orbit each other.
Like rocks, there are varying sizes of asteroids. It can be as big as Ceres or (about 940 kilometers across) just 6-foot-wide space rock 2015 TC25 (2 meters), the smallest kind of asteroid ever studied which passed by close to the Earth in October 2015. However, according to Vishnu Reddy of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, there is a slim chance of it hitting the planet. But is the world lucky enough and saved from the asteroids?
Pieces of geological evidence show that an asteroid roughly 10 km across hit the Earth about 65 million years ago, leaving a crater 1bout 180 km. It was also believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and three-fourths of other species that existed at that time.
Many asteroids of this type are now known; their orbits pass through the inner solar system and cross Earth’s orbit. Some of them hit the Earth and had left huge impacts.
Here are the ten biggest known hits
1. Vredefort Crater
Is was also known as the Vredefort Dome, a crater in Free State, South Africa, from an asteroid hit about 2 billion years ago. It has an estimated radius of 118 miles (190 kilometers), making it the world’s most massive known impact structure and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
2. Sudbury Basin
The Sudbury Basin in Ontario, Canada, is considered one of the largest and oldest known impact structures on Earth, which happened approximately 1.8 billion years ago. It has an estimated diameter of 81 miles (130 kilometers).
3. Acraman Crater
The once Acraman Crater is now the Lake Acraman in South Australia, Australia. The impact structure has an estimated diameter of 56 miles (90 kilometers), which took place about 580 million years ago.
4. Woodleigh Crater
This crater is in Western Australia, Australia, and estimated to have taken place 364 million years back. Its crater is not exposed at the surface, causing discrepancies in its actual size. The reports on its diameter vary from 25 to 75 miles (40 to 120 kilometers).
5. Manicouagan Crater
The impact had happened about 215 million years ago in Quebec, Canada. It is now known as Lake Manicouagan, which is one of the best-preserved craters on Earth. It has an estimated diameter of 62 miles or equal to 100 kilometers.
6. Morokweng Crater
It is located near the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. Although 145 million years had passed after it happened, its crater contained the fossilized remains of the meteorite that created it
7. Kara Crater
The crater is found in Nenetsia, Russia, and believed to have happened 70.3 million years ago. The Kara crater is non exposed impact structure, which some have claimed consists of two adjacent craters: The Kara and the Ust-Kara.
8. Chicxulub Crater
Many scientists believed that the meteorite that caused this crater caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs, which happened 65 million years ago.
The crater is located on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico has a diameter range from 106 to a whopping 186 miles (170 to 300 kilometers), which, if proved right, could mean it’s the biggest.
9. Popigai Crater
The asteroid impact date was approximately 35.7 million years ago at Siberia, Russia.
Would you wish to see this site if you know that Russian scientists claim it contains trillions of diamonds? Yes, and it was considered the largest diamond deposits in the world with diamonds been referred to as “impact diamonds.”
10. Chesapeake Bay Crater
The crater located approximately 125 miles (201 kilometers) from Washington, D.C was discovered in the early 1980s but estimated to have taken place 35 million years ago at Virginia, United States. Some estimates suggest this crater is 53 miles (85 kilometers) wide.
Asteroids help astronomers trace solar system evolution. These space bodies are crucial in searching for information about the history of the planets and the sun and making humans prepare if they deliver the elements of life or death to Earth.