"Fresh" Crater Found in Egypt; Changes Impact Risk?
The well-preserved crater was likely made by an iron meteor that landed whole—a find that could change Earth's impact risk, scientists say.
The Italian-Egyptian team that found the crater in pictures recently visited and studied the 147-foot-wide (45-meter-wide), 52-foot-deep (16-meter-deep) hole. The team also collected thousands of pieces of the space rock that littered the surrounding desert.
Based on their calculations, the team thinks that a 4.2-foot-wide (1.3-meter-wide) solid iron meteor weighing 11,023 to 22,046 pounds (5,000 to 10,000 kilograms) smashed into the desert—nearly intact—at speeds exceeding 2.1 miles (3.5 kilometers) a second.
There are no hard numbers for how many meteors this size might currently be on a collision course with Earth, but scientists think the potential threats could be in the tens of thousands.
Current impact models state that iron meteors around this size and mass should break into smaller chunks before impact.