WOLFE CREEK CRATER
Situated in Western Australia, Wolfe Creek Crater is the result of a 50,000 tonne meteorite impact that occurred under 300,000 years ago. Averaging 875 metres wide and 60 metres deep from base to crater, the crater is the star attraction in Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater National Park.
Spotted during an aerial survey in 1947 and investigated at ground level just two months later, details were published two years later and it’s the crater second most undeformed by erosion after Barringer Crater in Arizona.
Small numbers of iron meteorites have been found in the vicinity of the crater, as well as larger so-called ‘shale-balls’, rounded objects made of iron oxide, some weighing as much as 250 kg.
The local Djaru (Jaru) Aboriginal people refer to the crater as Kandimalal. There are multiple Dreaming stories about the formation of the crater. One such story describes the crater’s round shape being formed by the passage of a rainbow snake out of the earth, while another snake formed the nearby Sturt Creek. Another story, as told by an Elder, is that one day the crescent moon and the evening star passed very close to each other. The evening star became so hot that it fell to the ground, causing an enormous explosion and flash, followed by a dust cloud. This frightened the people and a long time passed before they ventured near the crater to see what had happened. When they finally went there, they realised that this was the site where the evening star had fallen to the Earth. The Djaru people then named the place “Kandimalal” and it is prominent in art from the region.