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Author Topic: What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?  (Read 5957 times)

Offline Spanish Flyer

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On a flight from Shanghai to London, and being the rough location as somewhere in Siberia, I happened to notice two very clear huge craters that looked very similar if not the same as the ones you can see on a full moon, so I immediately took them as being caused by meteorites millions of years ago. That sighting took place 5 years ago and since then I've been trying to find more about them, mainly looking in Internet and reading books. The strange thing is that I haven't seen them mentioned anywhere.
Could they be in such remote place on the Earth, that nobody has yet found them? You can appreciate some manmade straight paths and a couple of long rectangular shaped buildings of some sort, so in my opinion “someone” knows about them…
Flying at 10.000mts above the surface on a commercial flight gives you a pretty good picture of the no man’s land that passes under you and I was quite lucky to spot them, because they were only visible for a couple of minutes. I was sitting on the starboard side of the plane on a window seat and the craters where easy enough to see with the naked eye. Their size was "pretty" considerable and I'm talking here about several km in diameter, but that is at most a calculated guess, taking into consideration the distance to earth and their size compared to the part of the land that I could see through the window.
Anyway, this weekend I decided to sit in front of my computer and check using Google Earth the approximate path the plane must have taken on its way to Europe. After several hours I finally found them!! I originally saw two, but as I can now see, there is another smaller crater that shows some kind of lava path, or something of that kind, since I am a total newbie to these matters.
Their location, now that I can pinpoint them is not Russia but main land China and close to Mongolia.
I would really appreciate it if someone can give me some more information about these beautiful craters.
I include a link from the picture I have made using Google Earth image on my PC.

newbielink:http://imageevent.com/wforest/hugecraterschina?p=0&n=1&m=24&c=4&l=0&w=1&s=0&z=9 [nonactive]

Best Regards,
Spanish Flyer
« Last Edit: 17/05/2009 21:23:34 by chris »


 

Offline JimBob

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Re: What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #1 on: 17/05/2009 19:08:34 »
They appear at first glance to be volcanic. If you could add the Google Earth place mark  to your next post it would be very helpful for determining the regional setting in which these occur. It would be a .KMZ file.

The small crater at about 100° east is most defiantly volcanic. There is a lava trail going south from it.

(I am assuming that the photo is aligned with due north at the top.)


JB
« Last Edit: 17/05/2009 19:50:58 by JimBob »
 

Offline LeeE

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Re: What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #2 on: 17/05/2009 19:26:53 »
The lat & lon would have helped - they're at  44°13'47.64"N 114°14'8.52"E

They're not in the Earth Impact Database (although this only includes confirmed astroblemes, not ones that haven't been confirmed yet) and there's nothing at that location in the Wikipedia list of volcanoes in China either.

The fact that they were so close together suggested a volcanic origin to me but when you look at their elevation and profiles they do look more like astroblemes; if they were volcanic then all that's left are the bases and the rest would appear to have been destroyed.  I don't think that subsidence could have created the raised rim.

I couldn't find anything about them.
 

Offline chris

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #3 on: 17/05/2009 21:24:08 »
Could they not be large open-cast mines?
 

Offline JimBob

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #4 on: 17/05/2009 21:50:11 »
VERY unlikely
 

Offline Spanish Flyer

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #5 on: 17/05/2009 22:16:46 »
Sorry about that,
Here you go, another pic with Lat and Long.
I agree about the kind of lava path the small one left, but I guess it could also be possible that the impact could have created the rupture of the Earth's crust...
I don't think they have nothing to do with open air mines, or atomic test sites. I leave it to the experts to give their opinion.
It is strange that nobody seems to know about them. The other thing I used the ruler and it seems one is about 5 km in diameter and the second one 3.5 km; not bad, bigger than my house...

newbielink:http://photos.imageevent.com/wforest/hugecraterschina/CRATERS%20CHINA%20LONG%20and%20LATITUDE.jpg [nonactive]
 

Offline chris

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #6 on: 18/05/2009 00:19:34 »
They look more like volcanoes to my (un-geologically-educated) eye. There's another structure to the right of the two main ones that looks like a cone.

Chris
 

Offline Bass

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #7 on: 18/05/2009 01:03:49 »
My guess is also volcanic.  There is a distinct lava flow south of the small crater that is located east of the two big craters.  There also appears to be a lava flow to the south of the large southern crater.  The northern crater has distinct collapse ring structures around the outside and resurgent lava domes in the middle.  Lava from the northern crater may have flowed into and partially filled the southern crater. 
According to several articles, that area of Nei Mongol has had fairly recent (geologically speaking) volcanic activity.
 

Offline LeeE

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #8 on: 18/05/2009 18:13:48 »
My guess is also volcanic.  There is a distinct lava flow south of the small crater that is located east of the two big craters.  There also appears to be a lava flow to the south of the large southern crater.  The northern crater has distinct collapse ring structures around the outside and resurgent lava domes in the middle.  Lava from the northern crater may have flowed into and partially filled the southern crater. 
According to several articles, that area of Nei Mongol has had fairly recent (geologically speaking) volcanic activity.

I agree, they do look volcanic, but the lack of any edifice seems odd; it's like having a crater without the rest of the volcano.  The resurgent dome in the northern crater could be the central uplift that occurs in many impact craters, and collapse ring structures are also found in many impact craters.  The rim of the northern crater too, especially on its south-eastern quadrant, looks to have been uplifted, rather than truncated.

But then their close proximity and the lava flows really do suggest a volcanic origin.  Could they be dry maars?  that might explain the up-lifted rims and lack of any edifice.  Afaik though, lava flows are not generally associated with maars.

I find it very surprising that there seems to be absolutely nothing on the web concerning these structures.  Does anyone feel like e-mailing the USGS (probably our best bet for getting a response) about them?
 

Offline JimBob

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #9 on: 18/05/2009 19:57:27 »
mm22176

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Offline Bass

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #10 on: 18/05/2009 21:20:30 »
Here is a similar looking caldera in Alaska
Aniakchak Caldera, USGS photo


http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/sage/geology/lesson3/images/Figure%2012%20Aniakchak%20Caldera%20Alaska.jpg



 

Offline LeeE

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #11 on: 19/05/2009 17:39:52 »
Yeah, that does look pretty similar.  The USGS volcano hazards OFR on Aniakchak shows that it probably had a relatively low profile before the caldera forming eruption and that most of the edifice collapsed into the void left by the drained magma chamber.
 

Offline Spanish Flyer

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #12 on: 20/05/2009 11:02:58 »
Clusters of meteorite originated craters is not uncommon and I guess that meteorite impacts can also create some magma release.
It does seem strange that there is nothing to be found about "my discovery" while flying over the Goby desert in any written document whatsoever (at least looking through the net), so I would be inclided to have some authority in these matters hear about it and hopefully come up with some information.

On the other hand, looking at the picture and making close-ups you can clearly see some dirt paths which could only be manmade and two distinct buildings which seem to be hangar shaped (long rectangular, round top)buildings; one to the north west and the other to the south. This tells me that "someone knows about them or?

Thanks for all the comments, just hope we end up knowing a bit more about them; 5 and 3.5 km wide craters are too big to be forgotten or not known.... ::)
Best Regards,
Spanish Flyer
 

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What were the huge craters I saw in China from the air?
« Reply #12 on: 20/05/2009 11:02:58 »

 

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