Ancient Asteroid That Impacted Central Idaho Left 60 Mile Crater
The planet Earth is constantly being impacted by chunks of space debris. It's not every day however that a massive rock from the heavens leaves a 100-kilometer crater on our planet's surface, and we should be very thankful for that.
We all grew up hearing and reading about the asteroid that ended dinosaur life millions of years ago. The gargantuan, ecosystem-destroying asteroid struck just off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico more than 65 million years ago. This isn't the only large asteroid that has hit our planet, and most of the damage from these strikes the Earth has absorbed is still hidden by forest overgrowth and oceans to this day.
One such asteroid struck an area of the Idaho-Montana border north of present-day Arco and is known as the Beaverhead Impact site. The 62-mile crater left behind is covered by mostly trees now, but the destruction left behind can still be measured with scientific equipment. Further details of the second largest impact zone in the United States left more than 600 million years ago can be studied on numerous websites, including impactcraters.us.com.
There's conflicting information online as to what the largest impact crater in the U.S. is when factoring in depth and width. Some data points to the Chesapeake Bay impact site, while others suggest Arizona's Barringer Crater is the largest. One thing is for sure, and that's that the space rock that smashed into Idaho long before most life forms existed left an awfully big mark as well.