Largest asteroid ever to hit Earth was twice as big as the rock that killed off the dinosaurs

The largest asteroid ever to hit Earth, which slammed into the planet around 2 billion years ago, may have been even more massive than scientists previously thought. Based on the size of the Vredefort crater, the enormous impact scar left by the gargantuan space rock in what is now South Africa, researchers recently estimated that the epic impactor could have been around twice as wide as the asteroid that wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs.

The Vredefort crater, which is located around 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Johannesburg, currently measures about 99 miles (159 km) in diameter, making it the biggest visible crater on Earth. However, it is smaller than the Chicxulub crater buried under Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, which measures around 112 miles (180 km) in diameter and was left by the dinosaur-killing asteroid that struck Earth at the end of the Cretaceous period (opens in new tab) about 66 million years ago.

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