Bigach Impact Crater, Kazakhstan

Some meteor impact craters, like Barringer Crater in Arizona, are easily recognizable on the landscape due to well-preserved form and features. Other impact structures, such as Bigach Impact Crater in northeastern Kazakhstan are harder to recognize due to their age, modification by subsequent geologic processes, or even human alteration of the landscape.

At approximately 5 million years old, Bigach is a relatively young geologic feature; however active tectonic processes in the region have caused movement of parts of the structure along faults, leading to a somewhat angular appearance (image center).

The roughly circular rim of the 8 km in diameter structure is still discernable around the relatively flat interior in this astronaut photograph. In addition to modification by faulting and erosion, the interior of the impact structure has also been used for agricultural activities, as indicated by the presence of tan regular graded fields. Other rectangular agricultural fields are visible to the northeast and east. The closest settlement, Novopavlovka, is barely visible near the top of the image.

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