Australian Meteorite Craters & Meteorites

 

The Moorabunna Meteorite was found on Moorabunna paddock of Anna Creek Sheep Station in 1943, south-west of Lake Eyre in South Australia (2855'S/13615'E). The original weight of this meteorite is 77kg (169lb 14oz) and it is 96% iron. However, around 5kg of the meteorite was sliced off and sent to other institutions for examination. The main mass (pictured) is retained by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, on display as part of the extensive Tate Museum Collection, at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

 

 

 

Wolfe Creek Crater is located approximately 130 km (1-2 hours) south of the town Halls Creek in Western Australia. Estimated to be 300,000 years old and approximately 875-950 metres in diameter. The floor lies 55-metres below the rim of the crater, and although partly buried by windblown sand the rim of the crater rises to 25-metres above the surrounding plain. The original impactor would have weighed more than 50,000 tonnes and is thought to have been travelling approximately 15 kilometres a second. Fragments of the meteorite have been found 4km from the crater The crater had remained undiscovered by European settlers until 1947, however, the Djaru Aboriginal People call the crater Kandimalal, and have probably been aware of the existence of the crater for thousands of years. The Djaru believe that it is the location of where a serpent burst out of the ground. The crater was named back in 1889 after Robert Wolfe, a prospector and storekeeper of Halls Creek at the time of the gold rush and featured in the 2005 Australian horror film 'Wolf Creek'. 

   

The 1145kg Mundrabilla Meteorite in the foyer of the South Australian Museum. The first pieces of the Mundrabilla Meteorite were found in 1911, with two more large fragments discovered in 1966 by a couple of surveyors working in the area. Still later in 1979, two more large fragments were found about 20 km east of the 1966 location. This meteorite remains the largest mass  recovery found in Australia. The Mundrabilla Meteorite is believed to have originated from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. Although state laws vary, in Western and South Australia meteorites are held under a statutory obligation and deemed to belong to the state, therefore, unfortunately if you were to discover one you would not be allowed to retain ownership. However, small meteorite fragments can legally be sold within these states.

 

The Henbury Meteorite Craters are located in the Northern Territory of Australia. The largest crater is approximately 180 metres in diameter. There are thirteen craters in total around 5,000 years old that were first discovered in 1899. The first detailed survey of the crater area did not take place until 1937. More than 1200 kilograms of iron meteorite fragments have been collected from around the craters.

 

 

Gosses Bluff impact structure in the Northern Territory. Approximately 22 km in diameter and believed to be 142 million years old. The structure is deeply eroded, however, the central uplifted portion of the crater is still clearly visible. The Aranda People (also spelt Arrernte) call the structure Tnorala and believe it to be the site of where a stellar baby fell to the ground.

 

 

The Veevers Crater in Western Australia (Long. 2258'S ~ Lat:12522'E) is named after an Australian Geologist. It was first discovered in 1975 and it is estimated to be around 1 million years old. The crater is one of only two impact craters where group IIAB meteorites have been discovered. The other is the Sikhote-Alin crater group in Russia. It is approximately 70-metres in diameter and approximately 1 kilogram of fragments have been recovered. 

 

 

References

Bevan, Alex, & McNamara Ken, 1993, Australia's Meteorite Craters, Western Australian Museum, Perth.

Corbett, D.W.P., 1973, Meteorites (2nd Edition), South Australian Museum, Adelaide. 

 

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Updated 27th March 2013