These massive asteroids hit Earth; check out the size and carnage caused

Earth has been hit by asteroids numerous times but these 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth wreaked havoc across our planet; know about the destruction they caused

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:10 IST
Asteroid hitting Earth
These are the 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth that destroyed many life forms. (Pixabay)
Asteroid hitting Earth
These are the 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth that destroyed many life forms. (Pixabay)

The planet Earth has been around for more than 4.5 billion years. And in the course of its history it has been hit by asteroids at least 190 times. But there were three particular occasions when the asteroid was so large and the impact crater it created was so wide, scientists are sure it would have ended humanity! And yes, one of them is the same giant asteroid that made the dinosaurs go extinct. But interestingly, it is not the first in the list of 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth. So let us check out these three life-ending asteroids and the damage they caused.

But before that, let's give you an idea of why these three asteroids or any asteroid that makes it to Earth are so special. In its 4.5 billion years history, Earth has been exposed to hundreds of thousands of asteroids, however, there are only 190 craters discovered so far. Why is that? It is because an asteroid needs to be at least 25m large to make it through our atmosphere, according to NASA. This makes any asteroid that hits the Earth a very rare instance. To be specific, with 190 asteroid hits, the Earth gets one impact crater every 23.6 million years.

The 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth

Now that we know how rare these events are, it is still incredible to think about the fact that there were three events which, if they were to happen today, could wipe out humans off the face of the planet. But that is what has happened. There are these 3 largest asteroids to hit Earth, as reported by Live Science and one thing to note here is that the actual size of these asteroids cannot be directly calculated since the event happened millions of years ago. Instead, scientists figure out the size of the asteroid based on the size of the impact crater it has left. As logic goes, the larger the crater, the bigger the asteroid.

1. The Vredefort crater in South Africa: Created about 2 billion years ago, this 160 Kms large crater is remnant of the largest asteroid to hit Earth. Based on the crater size, it is estimated that the asteroid must have been 10-15Kms in diameter. For reference, it is bigger than the one that killed dinosaurs. According to NASA, an asteroid as big as 1km wide can cause a global catastrophic situation if it hits Earth. This asteroid would have obliterated most life forms, created huge fires, caused massive tectonic shifts and caused an ice age.

2. The Chicxulub crater in Mexico: This was the dinosaur killer asteroid which hit the Earth 66 million years ago. The crater is 180km wide but is slightly shallow and gives scientists an estimate that the asteroid must have been around 12kms in diameter.

3. The Sudbury Basin in Canada: Scientists believe this impact crater was made 1.8 billion years ago by an asteroid of between 9-14kms wide. The crater is almost gone and the land has flattened. Today, a lot of mining work takes place there as the area is rich in iron and nickel, the remnants of the asteroid.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 13:00 IST