Moscow region. Half a million years before our era.




In the vicinity of the capital discovered the largest in Europe, and perhaps the world's meteorite craters

Natalia Leskov

Ten years ago, a resident of the town of Roshal Shatura district near Moscow Nikolai Owl hanging around the lakes — and they are here naschityvetsya more than a dozen — with a fishing rod, noticed a strange pattern. All bodies of water, though different in size, as if lined up along the same line. "In my youth I was fond of astronomy, — says Nikolay owl. — That thought our lakes look like a huge celestial body, once falling to Earth, smashed to pieces, and like the machine gun, "shot" large rocks for tens of kilometers around. Maybe that is how did these waters? "

The question did not give an amateur astronomer no rest day or night. Nicholas began to write and call the Academy of Sciences, Committee on meteorites, Institute of Geology, Russian Academy of Sciences … Years later, the letters no one answered, but the owl did not let up. Finally, he "pulled out" of pundits that they have decided to pass letters to the Russian Organization "Kosmopoisk": if, say, there will be engaged in this "anomaly".

"The first trip showed that Nicholas is close to the truth," — says the head of "Kosmopoisk" Vadim Chernobrov. To start searchers probed the largest lake with sonar. The depth was greater, the larger the lake itself. Then draw up a detailed map of the area. Geologist Alexander Salty did a few ponds near the longitudinal pits — this technique can determine the age of the lakes. It soon became clear that they are not less than 600 thousand years. The origin of more left no doubt — "craters impact type with significant displacement of soil." It became clear at the dawn of civilization in this region dropped a huge celestial body. But what?

"This finding can not be overstated — the professor of Geophysics Faculty of Moscow State University. MV University Wilen Feldman. — The largest of the lakes is found about a kilometer in diameter, the smallest — about 200 meters. It used to be that the largest of the former Soviet Union meteor craters are found in Estonia, on the island of Saaremaa. However, the diameter does not exceed 50 meters. The world leader of this kind is still considered the Devil's Canyon in Arizona — its diameter is 1,265 meters. However, this single crater. In the entire history of the search for meteorites nobody has been able to find such a large number of craters at once. Podmoskovnie funnel — the largest of the "young" craters in Europe and one of the largest in the world. This is definitely a scientific sensation. "

Local fishermen had no idea about it. They did not like their lake — for the sharp smell of hydrogen sulfide, which emanates from them. Especially the lake with the telling name — Smerdyachee. The peculiar flavor — one of the signs of the recent past meteoric water body. After all, in geological terms, half a million years — not age. Because these lakes still retain traces of former space of the past, they are most valuable for the study.

"When we saw it was serious, decided to support the search engines — says a senior fellow of the Committee for meteorites of the Russian Academy of Sciences Roman Hotinok. — To convince academics that faced with this phenomenon. Scientists around the world gather nuggets of "sky stone", by trying to recreate the structure of the course of history of the universe, to understand its characteristics and patterns. Because meteorites — are fragments of eternity, some of which "remember" what was before the Big Bang. And here, right under our noses — and such a wealth! "

In May of this year, "Kosmopoisk" managed to hold aerial terrain, using digital video technology. In the hands of an experienced programmer Michael Genin footage turned into a moving color panorama of the countryside. The spectacle, appears on the computer screen, it seems fantastic.

Huge, lined up almost in a straight line, craters cut terrestrial landscape purple scars. Landscape resembles photographs of the lunar surface. Believe it — our planet, it is very difficult. Craters are about twenty, gradually, century after century, some craters filled with water and turned into a lake, while others remained dry and overgrown with forest. But if even now the picture looks so scary, what was then, 600,000 years ago?

In order to get the answer to these questions, search engines have collected a lot of material: soil, water and vegetation from the bottom of lakes. In these studies, every detail is important, so "take everything". All this is transferred to the laboratory tests to several research institutes and the biology department of Moscow State University.

"The consequences of the fall of such a large celestial body, of course, have been disastrous — Wilen said Feldman. — They can be compared with the explosion of a few dozen hydrogen bombs. The blast wave for hundreds of kilometers around the destroyed all living things, raised from the surface of the planet dust and soot overshadowed sunlight, there ceased to grow trees, breed animals … Now our task — to establish what the age, origin and structure of the meteorite Shatura, from what he was holding the edges of the path, which affected his destiny. "

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