Shocking! Forget dinosaur-killer asteroid, the biggest asteroid to hit Earth was 2x BIGGER
The largest asteroid to hit Earth put the Dinosaur killing asteroid in shade.
We are familiar with the theory that a massive 10-15 kilometeres wide asteroid ended the era of dinosaurs around 66 million years ago. The impact of the asteroid created the Chicxulub crater, which is buried under Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, which measures around 112 miles (180 km) in diameter. But do you know which is the biggest asteroid to hit Earth. It is called the Vredefort asteroid and it slammed into the planet around 2 billion years ago. Now, a new study has revealed that the asteroid is even more massive than scientists previously thought.
According to the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the size of the Vredefort asteroid has been measured at somewhere between 12.4 and 15.5 miles (20 and 25 km) across. It also revealed that it could have been traveling between 45000 and 56000 mph (72000 and 90000 km/h) while hitting the Earth. The crater it had created is known as Vredefort crater, which left a humongous scar in today's South Africa. It currently measures about 99 miles (159 km) in diameter, making it the biggest visible crater on Earth.
However, with time, these asteroid craters slowly erode and shrink. The recent estimate suggests that the Vredefort crater was originally 155-174 miles (250-280 km). Resultantly, the Vredefort crater is said to be the largest impact crater on Earth.
How Vredefort impact is different from Chicxulub impact
The report says that unlike the Chicxulub asteroid impact, the largest asteroid Vredefort impact did not cause a massive extinction of flora and fauna on Earth. The latest study's co-author Miki Nakajima, a planetary scientist at the University of Rochester in New York said, "Unlike the Chicxulub impact, the Vredefort impact did not leave a record of mass extinction or forest fires given that there were only single-cell lifeforms and no trees existed two billion years ago.”
However, the impact of the Vredefort asteroid affected global climate more extensively than the Chicxulub asteroid strike on Earth.
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