Kaali meteorite craters

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800 BC

Reinwald proved the meteoritic origin of the Kaali craters in 1937, finding meteoritic metal fragments from the small craters no. 2 and no. 5. Kaali meteorite represents the most widely spread type of meteoritic iron - coarse octaedrite; composed of 91,5% Fe and 8,3% Ni, with a pinch of cobalt, germanium and iridium. The polished cut surface of the meteorite shows a typical Widmanstätten pattern and contains minerals common to iron-meteorites such as kamacite and taenite.

Research data about the time of the craters formation is still intriguingly controversial. Only thing clear is that the craters were formed after the recline of the sea from that area of Saaremaa, as they contain no marine sediments. Sub-fossils of land snails, found in the bottom of the smaller craters, suggest that the surrounding area may have been a near-sea brushwood. Plant pollen, found in the sediments in the bottom of lake Kaali, dates back 3700 years. Radiocarbon dating of pieces of wood that were found in the lake, shows them to be at least 4000 years old. Assumed silicate impact debris, found in layers of peat in the surrounding bogs, suggests that the craters are 7500 to 7600 years old. The iridium-enriched layer in nearby peat bog was formed around 800 - 400 years B.C. This is also one assumed age for the Kaali craters. Discussions about the age of the craters continue to this day.

The Kaali main crater, bed to lake Kaali, is almost round in shape, its width 105-110 m. The craters depth, from the top of the berm to the dolomite bottom, below 6 meters of lake sediments, is 22 meters. The berm itself stands 4-7 meters high.

Kaali side craters: the eight, mostly dry, side craters measure 12-40 m in width, and their depth varies from 1-4 meters. All the craters of Kaali are too large to assume they were created without an explosion, by shear impact alone. Also, not enough iron has been found to say it wasn't dissipated by the explosion. Fragments found in the bottom of the smaller craters may have come from the exploding bodies, or from the smaller pieces that decelerated in the atmosphere. A. Aaloe assumed that they are impact explosion craters.

Source: http://www.saaremaa.ee/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=304%3Akaali-kraatrivaeli&catid=79%3Avaatamisvaeaersused&Itemid=236&lang=et



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