Largest asteroid ever to hit Earth was 25 kilometers across

(ORDO NEWS) — At a time when the Earth was inhabited exclusively by single-celled organisms, the largest asteroid ever to fall on our planet “landed” near what is now Johannesburg (South Africa), forming the Vredefort crater.

Previously, scientists have found that the size of the formed crater is 250-280 kilometers, and the size of the asteroid was approximately 15 kilometers. However, a new study by scientists from the University of Rochester suggests that its size was about 25 kilometers (!).

The team used a special impact physics program called Euler’s Simplified Arbitrary Langrangian (iSALE) to calculate the size of the asteroid that created the Vredefort crater.

They found that according to the initial estimate of the asteroid’s diameter, the size of the crater would have been 172 kilometers. To get the actual figure of 250-280 kilometers, the impactor had to be much larger.

Largest asteroid ever to hit Earth was 25 kilometers across 2

To understand what effect this object could have had on the planet, just look at the consequences of an asteroid collision in a place called Chicxulub.

The Chicxulub Crater , the cause of the mass extinction of dinosaurs, left behind a ten-kilometer asteroid that wiped out 75 percent of the plant and animal species on Earth 66 million years ago.

Fortunately for all living beings, about 2 billion years ago there were not so few of them. Although it did not cause a mass extinction, it is believed that the impact of the Vredefort would have had a greater impact on the global climate than the impact of Chicxulub.

The huge amount of dust raised from the impact of the asteroid would have covered the Sun for decades. This dusty veil would lead to a significant decrease in the temperature of the Earth’s surface. As the dust settled, the carbon dioxide released by the impact would raise the temperature of the planet by several degrees.

Impacts of this size are of great importance in understanding the geographic location of the Earth 2 billion years ago.

According to their estimates, at the time of the collision, the distance between the two landmasses was about 2000-2500 kilometers from each other.

This study helps us better understand what the planet looked like 2 billion years ago, and the information gathered from impacts with objects of this size allows us to assess the possible consequences of other large planetary collisions.

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