Spectacular Impact Craters That Will Amaze and Astonish

Since the dawn of time Earth has been regularly pummeled by asteroids and meteorites, all of which have left impressive footsteps behind.

Pingualuit Crater, Canada

The lake formed by this meteorite impact is one of the deepest and clearest in the world. Image: Denis Sarrazin/Wikimedia

The Pingualuit Crater is located in Canada on the Ungava Peninsula of Quebec.

The crater was formed after a meteorite strike some 1.4 million years ago and is most famous for its nearly perfect round shape and the lake that lies at the bottom of it.

There are a couple of things that make this lake very unique. The first one is the purity of the water.

Many believe it’s the purest freshwater lake on Earth, but the origin of the water is also very specific. The lake of Pingualuit crater doesn’t have any inlets or outlets, meaning that the rain and snow are its only water sources.

Kaali Crater, Estonia

Kaali is the largest in a series of craters in the region that were the result of a meteorite splitting apart and striking Earth. Image: CarolsJ

Not all impact craters are millions and millions of years old. Some of them have been around for only a couple of thousand years, but that doesn’t make them any less fascinating.

On the contrary, some of those younger impact craters are the most beautiful places on Earth. Just like the Kaali Crater.

Located on the Estonian island of Saaremaa, Kaali crater is actually the biggest of a dozen other craters formed in the same region after a meteorite burst into pieces and hit the Earth.

This most massive crater is approximately 110 meters (360 feet) wide and about 21 meters (70 feet) deep. It is filled with emerald green water which the locals believe to be magical.

Many archaeological studies indicate that this lake was a holy one, a place of sacrifice and offerings for hundreds of years.

Tswaing Crater, Africa

The lake in the center of this crater is filled by both rain and spring water. Image: Cardamom

Less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city of Pretoria lies one of the most impressive African impact craters.

This beautiful-looking crater was formed about 220,000 years ago when a rocky meteorite hit the ground leaving a 200-meter-deep (656 foot) hole which would help form the salty lake of Tswaing (‘Place of Salt’) in its center.

Thanks to its high concentration of salt, this 1.4-kilometer-wide (0.87 mile) crater served as a salt and soda ash mine for 44 years, before being closed in 1956. The factory ruins can still found near Tswaing lake.