Abstract

Small impact craters (<300 m in diameter) are rare on Earth and mostly deeply eroded, so that knowledge of their formation mechanism and the hazard small impactors constitute to human populations is largely based on physical models. We report on the geophysical investigation of the Kamil Crater we recently discovered in southern Egypt. The Kamil Crater is a <5 k.y. old impact crater 45 m in diameter, with a pristine ejecta ray structure. Such well-preserved structures have been previously observed only on extraterrestrial rocky or icy planetary bodies. This crater feature, and the association with an iron meteorite impactor and shock metamorphism, provides a unique impression of aspects of small-scale hypervelocity impacts on the Earth's crust. Contrary to current models, ground data indicate that iron meteorites with masses of tens of tons may be able to penetrate the atmosphere without substantial fragmentation.

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