On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching about the Early Earth: Evolution of Tectonics, Life, and the Early Atmosphere
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Cutting Edge > Early Earth > Visualizations > Impact Craters

Impact Crater Visualizations

Compiled by David Mogk at Montana State University (more info) and Kendra Murray at Carleton College.

This page has links to visualizations of impact events and the structures they form.

Browse the complete set of Visualization Collections.

4000 Years of Meteorite Impacts This interactive map created by Javier de la Torre, cofounder of CartoDB, shows the location of the 34,513 recorded points of meteor impacts in the past 4000 years. The data used to create the map is also available in table format.

Chesapeake Bay effects (more info) This PowerPoint show depicts the effects (blast, heat, etc.) of the Chesapeake Bay impact 35 million years ago, and shows what would happen to East Coast communities where the event to occur today.

Tsunami from Asteroid Impacts, Australian Spaceguard Survey (more info) This page is a repository of news, information, publications, and visualizations intended to provide a brief introduction to the effects of an asteroid or comet striking the Earth above an ocean. It includes recreations of impacts such as the Chicxulub (more info) 65 Ma, and animated scenarios of potential future encounters like Apophis in 2036 (more info) . Most of the visualizations can be found under the heading Asteroid/Tsunami News (more info) . Background information on tsunamis, impacts, and the characteristics of impact-generated tsunamis is also included, with additional animations.


For more tsunami animations, see the Tsunami Visualizations Cutting Edge page.

How big was the Chesapeake Bay impact? Insight from numerical modeling, GSA Online Journals (more info) This article published in <i>Geology</i> reports the results of numerical modeling of the unique impact structure in Chesapeake Bay. By modeling different rheological contrasts between the crystalline basement and overlying pelagic sediments at the time of impact, the authors were able to reproduce the unique impact structures observed in seismic data.
The GSA Data Repository (more info) provides large, downloadable QuickTime animations of the models discussed in this paper; scroll down to item 2005183.


Air Gun Experiment, NASA (more info) This video shows an impact experiment of a high-speed impact into a frozen comet-like material (dust, ice, window cleaner and Worcestershire sauce) over a highly porous target (garden perlite). The impact makes a small hole in the comet, simulating a strength-controlled crater, but a large crater grows below and peals back the surface crust like petals of a flower. The result is similar to a deeply buried explosion.