London: Scientists have discovered a meteor crater on Google Earth that they believe could help prepare for future impacts.
The Kamil crater, which is 16 metres deep and 45 metres wide, is deep within the Egyptian desert, and was unknown until it was found using the search engine`s satellite images, reports the Telegraph.
Caused by a ten-ton mass of iron travelling at more than 12,000kph, it is one of the best-preserved sites ever found.
Mineralogist Vincenzo De Michele spotted the crater in the border region between Egypt, Sudan and Libya in 2008.
He contacted astrophysicist Mario Di Martino, at the INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics) observatory in Turin, who, along with Dr Luigi Folco, organised an expedition to the site in February this year.
"This demonstrates that metallic meteorites having a mass on the order of 10 tonnes do not break up in the atmosphere, and instead explode when they reach the ground and produce a crater," said Detlef Koschny.
Falco added: "We are still determining the geochronology of the impact site, but the crater is certainly less than ten thousand years old and potentially less than a few thousand. The impact may even have been observed by humans, and archaeological investigations at nearby ancient settlements may help fix the date."