Crashes and Craters

Craters don't just exist on the Moon!


There’s loads of them here on Earth too!

This is a picture of the Barringer Meteor Crater in the Arizona desert.


It was created 50,000 years ago by a giant fireball!

We believe it must have been travelling at 26,000 miles an hour and hit the Earth with the power of 2500 tons of high explosives!

It left this crater which is nearly a kilometre wide and 750 feet deep.

The Earth has been around for over four and a half billion years and will have been battered with millions of asteroids and meteorites since then.

So why can’t we see all these craters on earth and we can see lots of them on the Moon?

It’s because the Earth’s a living and breathing planet.

Thanks to things like tectonic plates, the surface of the earth is constantly changing and reshaping.

We’ve also got oceans and earthquakes on the surface, and volcanoes throwing out lava – and all under the flow of the atmosphere.  Craters have simply just been covered up, that’s all!

We can see craters on other planets too.

They can tell us a lot about planets and moons, especially their age.

The more craters a planet or moon has, the older it’s likely to be.

Scientists think that there were many more impacts in the past when the solar system was younger because there was so much more material flying around.


It’s one way we can tell that all the planets in our solar system are roughly the same age.

Sometimes we can get clues about what a planet is made of by looking at the patterns around the crater too. Like if you drop a ball in a bucket of water it makes a big splash,  different minerals will get thrown out in different ways.

If the splashy bits look like lava, then we’ll know that a planet had a hot core at the time of the impact.

Click here to explore more from Deep Space High: Earth Watch