In 2019, researchers first described a 1.15-mile-wide crater in a mountain range in northeast China; late last year, a NASA satellite imaged the crater from space, giving a broad new view the impact’s aftermath.
The crater is in Heilongjiang Province’s Yilan County. According to the researchers who described it in 2019, it’s the second confirmed impact structure in China. The site has long been known to locals, who call it “Quanshan,” or “circular mountain ridge,” according to a NASA Earth Observatory release.
The southern rim of the crater has eroded, so from above the impact site looks more like a crescent. The rim is nearly 500 feet tall at its highest points, the researchers reported, and is slightly wider than China’s previously confirmed impact structure, Xiuyan, which is 1.12 miles across.
Last year, a different team of researchers determined that the crater formed between 46,000 and 53,000 years ago, making it the largest crater less than 100,000 years old. They figured out that the crater was formed by an asteroid by drilling nearly 1,500 feet into its center, where they found melted stone, shocked quartz, and glass in the ancient sediments—evidence of a high-temperature blast. Radiocarbon dating of the shocked sediments gave researchers the surprisingly recent date.