A place (lake) which was formed by falling meteorite from space

Lonar Crater Lake
Some 50,000 years back, a huge meteorite, coming from outer space, weighing in tons, and coming with high speed, struck on the plain surface of the earth in the Indian state of Maharashtra. If you don't know about meteorites, then you can consider them as rocks (tiny or huge) coming from outer space, which is different from rocks that exist on the earth. Since the atmosphere around the earth contains air, small meteorites compress the air, while passing through the earth's atmosphere and as a result of it; heat is produced due to friction (resistance caused by air). Small meteorites are melted by this heat and are finished on the way (vaporized) without striking the earth. But a large meteorite weighing in tons and moving at a great speed does not get melted by the heat generated from the friction in the air of earth's atmosphere, and such a meteorite collides with earth's surface with a great force.

The same thing happened in the state of Maharashtra, when some 50,000 years back, a huge meteorite weighing 2 million tons, and having width of 60 meters, and traveling at a speed of 90,000 kilometers per hour struck on the surface of the earth (source : maharashtratourism.gov.in). As a result of this collision with the surface of the earth, a big cavity or hole was formed, and it took the shape of a bowl, with its diameter as 1.83 km, and depth of 150 meters. This big hole in the shape of a bowl, formed from striking of meteorite, is often given the name as crater by scientists, and since it was formed in the town of Lonar in Maharashtra, this place was given the name as Lonar Crater. Pre-historic people might have witnessed this event. Since the rainwater accumulated in the big hole of the Lunar Crater, it becomes a lake as well, and the lake is now called as Lonar Crater Lake, and this is the 3rd largest Crater Lake in the world.

Since the meteorite hit the surface of the earth with great speed, it might have produced tremendous heat and fire, and as a result of it, the meteorite might have melted, and settled as crushed rocks forming the base of the crater. The most important thing to notice here is, how so magically it took the shape of a perfect bowl or a half cut sphere. It is said that every year thousands of pilgrims arrive at Lonar Lake, known for its sacred qualities and healing water. The color of the water in the lake is green, which is quite unusual, and the fauna and flora surround it. It has also been noticed by scientists, that such crater could be found in large numbers in the Mars Planet as well.

Just like earth and other planets revolve around the sun in the solar system, there are also minor planets such as asteroids and comets, that revolve around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter Planets. These are called minor planets because they are much smaller in size than the eight major planets in the solar system. We can call asteroid as a small rocky body orbiting the sun. A meteoroid is the name given to the rock, which is just a small fraction of an asteroid or comet, and when such a meteoroid (while coming towards the earth) passes through the air in earth's atmosphere, it burns with a streak of light (due to friction caused by air particles), and then its given the name as meteor(shooting star). The part of the meteoroid which pierces the earth's atmosphere, and reaches the earth is called a meteorite. So this should also clear the confusion about the differences between asteroid, meteoroid, meteor, and meteorite.

According to scientists, the earth is still not safe, as many of the asteroids and comets may come into the way of a revolving earth, and strike again. Here is a nice documentary video by National Geographic Channel on the effects of collisions on earth, caused by heavenly bodies such as asteroids and comets. Recently, in 2013 multiple meteors touched down in Central Russia in Ural region, and caused a lot of damage and its footage can be seen in this youtube video.

Lonar Crater Lake has now become a major tourist attraction in India, and it is located in the town of Lonar in the Buldhana district of the state of Maharashtra. If you plan to visit Ajanta Caves, than Lonar Crater Lake is just 140 km from Ajanta Caves. The lake is at a distance of 550 km from the city of Mumbai, and 160 km from the city of Aurangabad, in the state of Maharashtra. If you want to know more about this lake and its surrounding areas you can read reviews from people who already visited this place on sites like tripadvisor.in. Another famous crater that was formed, as a result of meteorite striking the earth, is Barringer Crater, Arizona, United States, and its most clear and magnificent view can be seen in this youtube video.

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Written by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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