A 2008 Google Earth search led to the discovery of Kamil crater, one of the best-preserved meteorite impact sites ever found. Earlier this year, a gritty, sand-blown expedition reached the site deep in the Egyptian desert to collect iron debris and determine the crater's age and origins.
One day within the last several thousand years, a rare metallic meteorite travelling over 12 000 km/hour smashed into Earth's surface near what is today the trackless border region between Egypt, Sudan and Libya. The impact of the 1.3 m, 10-tonne chunk of iron generated a fireball and plume that would have been visible over 1000 km away, and drilled a hole 16 m deep and 45 m wide into the rocky terrain.
Since then, the crater had sat undisturbed by Earth's geologic and climatic processes, which usually render all but the very largest terrestrial impact craters invisible. It was also, as far as is recorded, unseen by humans.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
New meteorite impact site discovered