National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Gosses Bluff Meteorite Crater
Gosses Bluff Meteorite Crater (click to enlarge)

Gosses Bluff Meteorite Crater

Lying just south of the Tropic of Capricorn and to the west of Alice Springs, Gosses Bluff Crater in the MacDonnell Ranges stands out as a prominent circular feature. All the terrestrial planets experienced an early episode of massive asteroidal bombardment, and many of them, for example the Moon, retain a clear record of that bombardment. Normal processes of erosion have erased all trace of this catastrophic episode in the Earth's history. Only a small number of younger impact craters are known to exist and Gosses Bluff is one of them. The original crater was about 20 kilometers in diameter. The rim can be detected on close scrutiny of the photograph, but the eye-catching circle of sandstone was uplifted by the impact to form a central ring in the crater and is about 3 kilometers in diameter.

Most of the known impact craters on Earth are located in North America. This is because the continent contains large areas of ancient rocks -- old enough to preserve long record of impacts -- and also because the continent has been minutely studied by geologists. Australia also contains large areas of ancient rocks but has been less closely studied. It is likely that several other major impact sites will come to light with further research.

Image Credit: NASA

Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 20 Jan 2011