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One of the Largest Asteroid Impact Craters in the World is in Idaho

20120730-010531.jpg, J. Stephen Conn
If you follow NASA’s JPL Asteroid Watch Twitter feed, you already know that asteroids whizz past our little blue planet on a pretty regular basis. Luckily a 6 mile wide monster–like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs–doesn’t come along very often, but asteroids do hit Earth. All the time.

And scientists have discovered one of the largest craters in the United States is right here in Idaho.

Originally discovered in Montana in 1990, the Beaverhead Crater complex was later found to extend into Idaho. After further study it was discovered that not only did the crater extend into Idaho, but covered a sizable portion of central Idaho.

Centered north of Challis, the Beaverahead Crater isn’t immediately visible like Meteor Crater in Arizona, but it’s much bigger. Estimated to have been formed 600 million years ago, the Beaverhead Crater could be up to 90 miles in diameter. Geologists are still looking for the edges.

So there’s your cheery thought for a Monday: our solar system is one immense shooting gallery, the Earth gets hit on a pretty regular basis, and one of the biggest impact craters on the planet is right here in Idaho.

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