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The Kaali Meteorite Crater is located in the village of Kaali on the Estonian island of Saaremaa, 18km from its capital Kuressaare. It was the last giant meteorite to fall into a densely populated area, and the scar it left on the landscape tells about the terrible events which happened here during the Bronze Age.

About 7,600 years ago, a large rock, some 20 to 80 tons in mass, ripped through Earth’s atmosphere at velocities between 10 and 20 km/s. At an altitude of 5–10 km, the meteorite broke up into pieces and fell in fragments. The largest of them slammed into the earth releasing energy equivalent to about 20 kilotons of TNT, or 25% more powerful than the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima during the end of the World War II. The explosion removed approximately 81,000 cubic meters of dolomites and other rock, formed a fireball 7–8 km tall and incinerated forests within a 6 km radius. At the time of impact the site was forested with a small human population. Casualties must have been numerous.


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© Amusing Planet, 2014.

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