Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterThe Manicouagan crater is one of the best preserved craters on Earth, considering that it is between 206 and 214 million years old. The crater is now 70 km in diameter, but the original rim was 100 km in diameter. Some erosion has taken place, but not nearly as much as has taken place on other craters of its approximate age. There is a lake shaped like a ring in the crater. The impacted rock in its center which is made of metamorphic and igneous rock is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding material. It is also partly covered with impact melts and scientists have found shattered cones.
The Manicouagan crater is one of the largest on the Earth and is thought to have been created by an asteroid that was 5 km in diameter. Some scientists think that the crater may have been part of a hypothetical multiple impact event which also formed the Rouchachoart crater in France, Saint Martin in Manitoba, Obolon’ crater in the Ukraine, and Red Wing crater in North Dakota. The five craters form a hypothetical chain that suggests that they were created by one asteroid that broke up and then impacted the Earth. The theory accounts for plate tectonics and shifts over the ensuing 214 million years. It is quite an intriguing study that you should research more.
It seems, from the dimensions of the Manicouagan crater, that the dinosaurs were lucky that the asteroid did not impact all in the same place. The impactor very well may have been large enough to cause their destruction at that time instead of 149 million years later. It also makes you wonder how much of a climate change was created by five asteroid impacts at one time. Perhaps Chicxulub was not the only significant impactor for life here on Earth?
The Manicouagan crater does not play as much of a role in the mining industry as other impact craters in Canada do, but it is intriguing for its scientific value. I believe that as we understand more about the formation of craters and are able to study Manicouagan more we will learn that is has a greater importance.
Nasa and Wikipedia each have a good article on the Manicouagan crater. Here on Universe Today there is a great article on the crater and Astronomy Cast has an outstanding episode on craters in general.