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Google Crater

October 28, 2010

Scientists have found a previously undiscovered meteorite impact crater using Google Earth.


Googling an impact …I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A few thousand years ago, a meteorite crashed into the Egyptian desert, leaving a crater a hundred and fifty feet wide and fifty feet deep. It went unnoticed until two years ago, when Italian scientists spotted it with Google Earth’s satellite images. According to Ettore Perozzi of the Italian satellite company Telespazio, the isolated location and dry desert weather kept the crater in pristine condition.

ETTORE PEROZZI (Telespazio, Rome, Italy):
And the fact that the sand didn’t cover the crater is an indication that it’s actually young. It’s younger than, I think, Neolithic settlements that they found there.

Perozzi says objects of this size actually hit Earth about once a year, but those that don’t burn up in the atmosphere usually land in the ocean or in remote areas. Studying this crater could tell us how these rarely-seen impacts have shaped Earth’s geology. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.