Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Wolfe Creek Crater

The second largest crater in the world in which fragments of the impacting meteorite have been found: it is the Wolfe Creek Crater, located in Western Australia.

The crater, with a diameter of 875 meters, was formed 300,000 years ago when a body weighing over 50,000 tons impacted the Earth at a speed of 15 km/s. A meteorite weighing about 250 kg was found inside the crater, while several other smaller ferrous meteorites were found in its vicinity.

The crater has been known to the European population since 1947, when it was discovered from photographic plates taken during an aerial exploration. In the following two years it was reached and studied by land expeditions and in 1949 its existence, previously known only to some researchers, was revealed to the whole press. The crater was named after Robert Wolfe, a gold digger who was very famous at the time of the gold rush in the nearby town of Halls Creek.

The crater, on the other hand, has long been known to the local Aboriginal population, who refer to it with the name of Kandimalal. Numerous legends of local culture are linked to the crater, and in particular to its formation. According to one of these, the crater was formed after a rainbow that appeared in the area hit the ground exactly at that point, thus releasing a huge legendary creature in the shape of a snake.

Credit: via Flickr. 

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