The Chiemgau strewnfield compared to others worldwide

Some new topics have come to be known since the original publication on this website:

–A large meteorite crater strewn field, Bajada del Diablo, Argentina, has been proposed in 2009 –

— The crater field in the Gilf Kebir region, Egypt, proposed to be meteoritic, is now considered to be of endogenetic origin.


The Chiemgau strewnfield compared to others worldwide

On Earth, six meteorite crater strewnfields are known (for a new discovery (Gilf Kebir), however, see below). These are the Kaalijarvi field in Estonia, the Morasko filed in Poland, the Sikhote-Alin field in Russia, the Henbury field in Australia, the Campo del Cielo (“sky field”) in Argentinia, and the Wabar field in Saudi Arabia (see Hodge 1994, Krinov 1963 a,b, and others).

Compared with these known occurrences, the Chiemgau strewnfield in southeastern Germany has an amazing number of craters, in particular larger ones, and covers a very large territory.

At Kaalijarvi (on Saaremaa Island, Estonia; f: 58.40° N, ?: 22.67° E), the strewnfield measures ca 1 km in size. 9 craters with diameters from 13 m up to 110 m are distributed across an area of 0.5 km² (Fig. 1). The largest of them, which originally had an estimated depth of 22 m, contains a small lake. There are several estimates for the age of the craters ranging from 2,370 to 8,500 years ago. The 6,600 years old crater field of Ilumetsa is also situated in Estonia (f: 57.97° N, ?: 25.42° E). There are five depressions known, but only two of them are established meteorite craters. The dimensions of the two craters, some 900 m apart, are 75-80 m diameter, 12.5 m depth, 4.5 m height of the wall, and 50 m/4.5 m/1.5 m, respectively,

The strewnfield at Morasko (near Poznan, Poland; f: 52.48° N, ?: 16.90° E) comprises 8 craters, which have diameters from less than 18 m (3 m deep) up to 95 m (11.5 m deep). They are located in an area of ca 460 m by 300 m (Fig. 1). Only one of the craters is always dry. Three of them host permanent lakes, while the others are seasonally filled with water. The impact of Morasko is estimated to have happened less than 10,000 years ago.

In 1947, people observed the breaking up of a meteoroid falling down in the western slopes of the Sikhote Alin mountains (between Ulunga and Iman, Russia; f: 46.16° N, ?: 134.65° E). The multiple fragmentation of this object started at an altitude of about five kilometers and created an elliptical strewnfield with a major axis of ca 2 km and a minor axis of only 1 km (Fig 1). 158 craters had been preserved. The most prominent 68 craters have diameters between 1.1 m and 26.5 m. The largest one is 6 m deep. At Sikhote Alin, the classic distribution pattern occurs in the strewnfield: The largest masses are concentrated at one end of the ellipse where they made the largest craters.

At Henbury (Northern Territory, Australia; 24.58° S, 133.15° E), 13 craters are known which form a classic distribution ellipse (Fig. 1). The largest crater, probably produced by the impact of a fragmented projectile, measures 216 m by 108 m, being approximately 15 m deep. The other craters range in size between 10 m and 60 m. The Henbury crater field is assumed to be about 5,000 years old.

Fig. 1. Scattering ellipses for meteorite crater strewnfields. Modified from Krinov (1963) (Henbury, Kaalijarvi) and Hodge (1994) (Morasko, Sikhote Alin).

At Campo del Cielo (Gran Chaco Gualamba, Chaco, Argentina; f: 61.70° S, ?: 27.63° W ), 9 craters have been found with diameters ranging from 5 m to 100 m, and up to 5 m deep. The long axis of the crater scattering ellipse measures 17.5 km. The meteorite strewnfield associated with the craters is about 55 km wide. The Campo de Cielo impact is estimated to have happened 4,000 years ago.

At Wabar (Saudi Arabia; f: 21.5° N, ?: 50.67°E), probably 4 craters set up the distribution field. The largest one is 116 m across. There is another one being 64 m wide, and a third having a diameter of 11 m. It is estimated that the Wabar impact happened 135-450 years ago.

A large strewnfieled is reported for Jilin (Manchria, China; f: 44° N, ?: 126° E). The area of the scattering ellipse is 10 km by 67 km. Some fragments of the meteorite penatrated the ground down to a depth of 6 m.

A very large strewnfieled was discovered in 1836 at Gibeon (Great Namaqualand, Namibia; f: 25.33° S, ?: 18° E). It has a major axis of 390 km and a minor one of 120 km (30,000 km²). But not any craters have been discovered yet.

The obviously largest impact crater field (Gilf Kebir) has been discovered in 2004 in the Egyptian desert:

Discovery of the largest impact crater field on Earth
in the Gilf Kebir region, Egypt

Philippe Paillou, Ahmed El Barkooky, Aly Barakat, Jean-Marie Malezieux,
Bruno Reynard, Jean Dejax, Essam Heggy

(see here :