Named the size of the largest asteroid in the history of the Earth. He's bigger than the one who killed the dinosaurs

The largest asteroid ever to hit the Earth and crashed into the planet about 2 billion years ago, possibly

was greater than previously thought.Based on the size of the Vredefort crater in present-day South Africa, the researchers calculated that the giant space rock was about twice as wide as the asteroid that wiped out the non-Avian dinosaurs.

Vredefort crater, located about 120 km tosouthwest of Johannesburg. At present, its diameter is 159 km, which makes it the largest visible crater on Earth. However, it is smaller than the Chicxulub crater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It is about 180 km in diameter and was left by an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago.

The problem is that impact craters eventuallyslowly collapse, which causes them to shrink. According to the latest estimates, the original diameter of the Vredefort crater was between 250 and 280 km when it formed 2 billion years ago. As a result, it should be considered the largest impact crater on Earth, despite the fact that today it is smaller than Chicxulub.

Image courtesy Lauren Dauphin/NASA Earth Observatory/Landsat

In the past, scientists thought that the Vredefort craterwas originally much smaller - about 172 km wide. Based on this estimate, the researchers calculated that the asteroid responsible for the impact would have been about 15 km across and hit the planet at about 53,900 km/h. But as part of a new study, scientists have revised the dimensions of the crater and gained new insights into the size of the huge space rock.

The researchers recalculated the size of the asteroidVredefort and found that the space rock was between 20 and 25 km across and was traveling at 72,000 to 90,000 km/h when it crashed into the planet.

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