Welcome to Tswaing Meteorite Crater near Pretoria in South Africa, our first non-stargazing episode.
The Tswaing Crater is a bowl-shaped geological feature, caused by the impact of a 50m chondrite (stony meteorite) 220 000 years ago, which exploded and vaporized on impact,
The crater can host four simultaneous football matches and a half a million spectators. At Shoemaker Viewpoint you are 60m higher than the surrounding landscape and 100m above the crater floor. The distance to the opposite crater rim is 1.13km. You are standing on top of large granite boulders that were ejected by the force of the meteorite impact. These granite boulders show how weathering (breaking up into small fragments) by lichens takes place. Lichens are minute organisms, consisting of algae and fungi living together. A geologist by training, Dr Eugene Shoemaker was one of the world’s leading experts on craters and the impacts that caused them. He was the first one to prove to the scientific community that the famous Meteor Crater in Arizona (today a successful museum) was the result of, an asteroid impact. He was also involved in several United States space missions, including the Apollo missions to the moon: He taught astronauts about craters before they left Earth. It was Shoemaker who created the field of impact studies and he was the one who started best be remembered for helping to discover comet Shoemaker.
Text by: Tswaing Meteorite Crater Visitors Center / The Geological Society of South Africa
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This episode is published under CC-BY 4.0.
Please credit as follows
Photo: Sven Nemeth
Published by: Nemeth/Star Productions (https://nemethstarproductions.eu)
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