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Bigach Impact Crater, Kazakhstan

Bigach Impact Crater, Kazakhstan

Some meteor impact craters, like Barringer Crater in Arizona, are easily recognizable due to well-preserved forms and features on the landscape. Other impact structures, such as Bigach Impact Crater in northeastern Kazakhstan, are harder to recognize due to their age, modification by geologic processes, or even human alteration of the landscape.

At approximately five million years old, Bigach is a relatively young geologic feature. However, active tectonic processes in the region have caused movement of parts of the structure along faults, leading to a somewhat angular appearance (image center). The roughly circular rim of the 8-kilometer (diameter) structure is still discernable around the relatively flat interior.

In addition to modification by faulting and erosion, the interior of the impact structure has also been used for agricultural activities, as indicated by the presence of tan, graded fields. Other rectangular agricultural fields are visible to the northeast and east. The closest settlement, Novopavlovka, is barely visible near the top of the image.

Astronaut photograph ISS028-E-44433 was acquired on September 8, 2011, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera using a 180 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 28 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC.