Scientists say a meteoric impact crater found in the remote Egyptian desert may be the best-preserved ever found on Earth.
The Kamil crater is pristine, unlike most Earth impact sites that are partially or severely eroded, and maintains much of its structure, including the rays of ejected material thrown from the crater when the space rock hit, SPACE.com reported Thursday.
“This crater is really a kind of beauty because it’s so well preserved that it will tell us a lot about small-scale meteorite impacts on the Earth’s crust,” Luigi Folco, meteorite curator at the Museo Nazionale dell’Antartide in Siena, Italy, said. “It’s so nice. It’s so neat. There is something extraordinary about it.”
Craters this well preserved are usually only seen on the moon or Mars, where there are fewer environmental and atmospheric processes to erode and eventually destroy them, he said.
The 148-foot-wide crater was first spotted in Google Earth satellite photos by Italian researchers.
Scientists think it was caused by the impact of an iron meteorite about 4.3 feet in diameter traveling at 7,920 mph, SPACE.com reported.