World Asteroid day 2022: The Biggest, most destructive, asteroids to Strike Earth - Listed

World Asteroid day 2022: While the Earth has been impacted by asteroids many times, these three asteroids were the largest to strike our planet. Know their size and the destruction they caused.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 13:26 IST
Dinosaurs and asteroid
World Asteroid day 2022: Know which were the three largest asteroids to strike the Earth and wreak havoc here. Find out their size. (Pixabay)
Dinosaurs and asteroid
World Asteroid day 2022: Know which were the three largest asteroids to strike the Earth and wreak havoc here. Find out their size. (Pixabay)

Human civilization has been extremely lucky. Not only because the environment was suitable for life or because plants and smaller animals could help in ensuring survival as food and resources but because we have enjoyed a peaceful period without any large asteroid striking our planet and destroying most life forms — like it did with the dinosaurs. 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 among them, the biggest three were capable of destroying life and causing an ice age that would have tragic consequences for humans. On World Asteroid Day 2022, let us take a look at the three scariest asteroid strikes on Earth.

Three largest asteroids to strike Earth

According to a report by Live Science, the following were the largest asteroids to crash into our planet. One thing to note here is that their size cannot be calculated directly because the asteroid no longer exists. That's why scientists measure the size of the asteroid based on the size of the impact crater created by it.

1. The Vredefort crater in South Africa

Created about 2 billion years ago and this 160 kilometres large crater is remnant of the largest asteroid to hit Earth. As per the crater size, it is estimated that the impacting asteroid must have been between 10 to 15 kilometres in diameter. According to NASA, an asteroid as big as 1 kilometre 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. It is also the second-oldest known crater in the world, after the Suavjarvi crater in Russia.

2. The Chicxulub crater in Mexico

This was the dinosaur killer asteroid which hit the Earth 66 million years ago. The crater is 180 kilometres wide but is slightly shallow and gives scientists an estimate that the asteroid must have been around 12 kilometres in diameter. This asteroid caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event which witnessed the mass extinction of three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth including all non avian dinosaurs

3. The Sudbury Basin in Canada

Scientists believe this impact crater was made 1.8 billion years ago by an asteroid of between 9-14 kilometres 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: 30 Jun, 13:27 IST