Google Earth: Impact Structures Top 25 (was 10)

And here it is! My first public experiment with Google Earth.

Vredefort Impact StructureSome time ago I stumbled upon the Earth Impact Database. A table with all 172 confirmed impact structures on earth’s surface. Putting one and two together I figured it would be nice to see those impact structures visualised inside GE. I also figured it to be a nice side-project to learn PHP, KML and XML on the way. After some trial and error, some code-borrowing, testing and hacking I present you:
A top 25 of the largest confirmed impact structures on earth.

If you were impressed by the dinosaur extermination power of the Chicxulub crater off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Wait till you see the Sudbury and Vredefort ‘dents’. 😉

Download the impact structures top 25 kmz
(Google Earth required). Or click the picture to see what you’re missing.

But wait, you said there were 172 impact craters!” Yes I did. And I have them standing by for later release.
The fact is. The above kmz-file is a network link. Meaning it will fetch the data from ThinkLemon every time you start GE. That’s a good thing because every time I update something you will get the updated structures. The downside for me is bandwith and ‘neighbours’. I don’t want to bring the server down because of my experiments. 🙂
In due time I will release sets of impact craters for your enjoyment. (After I clean up the code, do some optimalisations, tweak the data, etc…)

Update: The top 10 is no longer a top 10 but a top 25. So you’ll get all impact craters ranging from the whopping 300km Vredefort in South Africa to the mere 30km Shoemaker (formerly Teague) in Australia. Furthermore, the size indicator now shows the correct (estimated) diameter and the placemark icon shows an ‘impact’ icon. I hope you’ll enjoy. More improvements to follow at a later date.

6 responses to “Google Earth: Impact Structures Top 25 (was 10)”

  1. hey… this is really cool. i wonder if it would be possible to somehow show the trajectory of the actual body and the ANGLE OF IMPACT. how cool would that be? the orientations of the craters would then be more apparent. i’m sure some astronomy database has the info. i’m lazy though.

  2. I was amazed at your Impact Structures KML and use it in my High School Earth Science class. Somehow, I saved the Impact Structures collections from one link (I think… I don’t rememeber pulling them all individually). Are all the impact structures available in one KLM/KMZ file? I would like to post a link to it, if I may? I try to post all my teaching resources on my classroom site.

    Thanks, Shawn

  3. Hi Shawn,

    I’m guessing you found it at Frank Taylor’s Google Earth Blog. But you can find all the Google Earth related materials here at

    It’s nice to see you are using it in classroom. Feel free to link and use anything. But I’ve got to give credit to the people of the UNB and the IFSG. They are responsible for collecting and maintaining the data.

  4. IMO Chixulub is the impact crater for the theory called ‘The Impact And Exit Event’. Can you produce a link to Chixulub with reference to the Impact And Exit Event on Google? The location of Chixulub is at the center of where the theory says that Earth was penetrated by a high-speed impactor. has further info.
    I’m gonna see if I can do it , but I’m not too hopeful :o)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.