The Enigmas on Earth
Aurora Viewed from Space
 Credit: ESA/ISS
This image was taken at an altitude of 400 km from the ISS. The international space station was over Canada at the time. In the foreground the Manicouagan impact crater is visible.

Manicouagan Crater, Canada
Scientists have calculated that the Manicouagan Crater is approximately 206 to 214 million years old. It is one of the largest ones found preserved in pretty good shape on Earth. Unlike other craters found elsewhere on Earth, the atmosphere and its eroding have not damaged the crater significantly.

The crater itself has been measured to about 70 kilometers in diameter. However, erosion has been able to chip away the original outer rim of the crater. Scientists have been able to determine that the original rim was about 100 kilometers wide. There is a lake shaped like a ring in the crater. The impacted rock in its center which is made of metamorphic and igneous rock is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding material. It is also partly covered with impact melts and scientists have found shattered cones. Much of the information gathered helps scientists understand the process in which craters are formed and determine structural information on craters on other planets in the solar system. - Source

The Manicouagan Crater in northern Canada is one of the oldest impact craters known. Formed during a surely tremendous impact about 200 million years ago, the present day terrain supports a 70 kilometer diameter hydroelectric reservoir in the telltale form of an annular lake. The crater itself has been worn away by the passing of glaciers and other erosion processes. Still, the hard rock at the impact site has preserved much of the complex impact structure and so allows scientists a leading case to help understand large impact features on Earth and other Solar System bodies. Also visible above is the vertical fin of the Space Shuttle Columbia from which the picture was taken in 1983. - Source
Landsat 7 Image, bands 452 provided by Ronald W. Hayes, USGS.
Shuttle Image STS-100 332-011 with International Space Station
April, 2001 - submitted by Chuck Simonds
Image Courtesy NASA/Shuttle
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