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Aorounga Impact Crater
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The circular Aorounga Impact Crater lies approximately 110 kilometres to the southeast of the shield volcano of Emi Koussi and has its origins in forces from above rather than below. The Aorounga structure is thought to record a meteor impact from approximately 345 to 370 million years ago. The crater in the image may be but one of three impact craters formed by the same event; the other two are buried by sand deposits.
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The impact of an asteroid or comet several hundred million years ago left scars in the landscape that are still visible in this satellite image of the Aorounga crater, in the Sahara desert of northern Chad. The concentric ring structure is thought to be 345-370m years old and is one of the best-preserved impact structures in the world
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A meteorite that rocked the Sahara desert over 300 million years ago left behind quite a scar that's been photographed before
New satellite images released by NASA this week provide a closer view of the Aorounga Impact Crater in north-central Chad, one of the best preserved impact structures in the world.

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Latitude: 19° 6' N, Longitude: 19° 15' E
Age: 345 million years
Size: 12.6 km in diameter

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As the fragments of shattered comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3 glide harmlessly past Earth this month in full view of backyard telescopes, onlookers can't help but wonder, what if a comet like that didn't miss, but actually hit our planet?

For the answer to that question, we look to the Sahara desert.

In a remote windswept area named Aorounga, in Chad, there are three craters in a row, each about 10 km in diameter.

"We believe this is a 'crater chain' formed by the impact of a fragmented comet or asteroid about 400 million years ago in the Late Devonian period" - Adriana Ocampo.

Ocampo and colleagues discovered the chain in 1996. The main crater "Aorounga South" had been known for many years—it sticks out of the sand and can be seen from airplanes and satellites. But a second and possibly third crater were buried. They lay hidden until radar onboard the space shuttle (SIR-C) penetrated the sandy ground, revealing their ragged outlines.

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