Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Craters - View of the Barringer Crater in Arizona From Above - Craters Worksheet
Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Craters - View of the Barringer Crater in Arizona From Above

Meteors are pieces of flying rock, metal and space debris. They generally burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but occasionally they hit the Earth. When a meteorite collides with the Earth, its energy is often converted into heat.

This heat is intense enough to melt rock and create holes in the Earth’s crust known as craters. Some craters are deep holes. Complex craters are wide and often have ridges and a dome in the center.

When a crater hits the Earth, the debris released by it can cause air pollution or even block the Sun. Scientists believe that a meteor may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and other animal and plants.

Craters Facts for Kids

  • Craters are holes in the ground.
  • They are formed by meteor impacts.
  • Craters can be on planets or moons.
  • Earth’s largest crater is in South Africa.
  • Craters can also be caused by volcanoes.
  • Moon’s surface has many craters.
  • Some craters fill up with water.
  • Craters are often circular in shape.
  • Many craters are millions of years old.
  • Meteor Crater in Arizona is famous.

Impact craters

Impact craters, captivating features on the surfaces of planets and moons, result from collisions with large celestial objects such as meteorites or asteroids. These collisions can produce craters of significant size, some reaching hundreds of kilometers in diameter, identifiable by their distinctive circular shapes and elevated rims.

The enormous energy released during these high-speed impacts triggers surface explosions, resulting in the formation of a large hollow or a “crater”. Our moon serves as a prime example of these phenomena, showcasing numerous impact craters across its surface.

Lunar craters

Meteorite and asteroid impacts have created fascinating lunar craters on the moon’s surface, with sizes ranging from a few meters to 100 kilometers in diameter. Remarkably, the largest, the South Pole-Aitken Basin, stretches about 2,500 kilometers wide, almost matching the width of the United States.

The moon’s lack of an atmosphere or weather conditions means these craters remain intact and visible for billions of years, offering scientists a unique opportunity to study and gain insights into the history of the moon and the Solar System.

Volcanic craters

Fascinating geological formations and volcanic craters offer valuable insights into Earth’s geology that can enrich kids’ understanding. Formed by large pits or holes, they are a result of the powerful eruptions of volcanoes that expel magma, ash, and gases, leading the ground to collapse and create these intriguing structures.

A trip to Hawaii might allow you to witness volcanic craters filled with active, bubbling lava. However, not all are alike. Once a volcano becomes inactive, its crater can fill with water, forming a lake. With diameters reaching thousands of feet, volcanic craters stand as a formidable testament to the force of nature.

Meteorite impacts

Craters, intriguing geological formations resembling immense bowls or dips in the terrain, are created when meteorites, or space rocks, collide with a planet or moon. These collisions are so forceful that they can propel dust and rock into the air, forming a surrounding ring denoted as an ejecta blanket.

The world’s largest known crater, the Vredefort Crater in South Africa, spanning over 300 kilometers, was formed over two billion years ago due to such a meteorite impact. These craters offer invaluable insights to scientists about the composition of our universe and its evolution over time.

Planetary geology

Craters, intriguing features prevalent on many planets and moons in our solar system, are formed through the impact of meteorites crashing into their surfaces, creating massive explosions and sizable holes – known as craters.

These craters, central to the field of planetary geology, serve as an important tool for scientists to study the solid and liquid matter constituting planets and their moons. The examination of these craters provides valuable insights into a planet’s history, including its age, surface composition, and any previous meteorite impacts.

Planets such as Mercury are heavily cratered, while others, like Earth, have fewer craters due to weather conditions and geological activity that gradually erase these features over time.


Astrogeology, the study of craters on the surface of planets and moons, offers significant insights into our solar system’s history. These intriguing features are created when a meteor or asteroid strikes a celestial body, resulting in a large circular depression.

An iconic example on Earth is Arizona’s Meteor Crater, with its impressive dimensions of 1,200 meters in diameter and 170 meters in depth. The moon also hosts countless craters, some stretching as wide as 225 kilometers. Detailed examination of these craters enables astrogeologists to glean information about the age of the surface, the nature of the meteorites that formed the craters, and the historical frequency of meteorite impacts within our solar system.

Crater formation

Craters, intriguing formations found on Earth and other celestial objects such as the Moon, Mars, and even asteroids, are created by the impact of comets, asteroids, or meteorites crashing into a planet or moon’s surface. These collisions result in massive explosions that carve out large holes, known as ‘craters’, in the ground.

The size of these craters is directly influenced by the size and speed of the impacting object, with larger and faster objects creating larger craters. Craters can exhibit a bowl shape or, if sufficiently large, possess a central peak. Earth’s craters often undergo erosion over time due to weather and natural processes. However, in places devoid of atmosphere or weather, like the Moon, craters can persist for billions of years.


Kids might find the concept of calderas captivating! Calderas are unique craters that are formed right here on Earth due to volcanic eruptions followed by the collapse of the volcano into itself, resulting in a substantial bowl-shaped depression.

This is a stark contrast to regular craters that are often a result of meteorite impacts. The magnitude of some calderas can be so immense that they can accommodate lakes within them, a prime example being Crater Lake in Oregon, USA. It’s truly amazing to comprehend that a destructive event like a volcanic eruption can result in the formation of such stunning natural landmarks!

Impact events

Craters serve as intriguing natural formations that provide invaluable insights into the historical chronicle of our planet and the universe. They typically materialize when a sizable object like an asteroid or meteor strikes a planet or moon, resulting in a tremendous impact event.

The force of this collision is so intense that it excavates a large depression or hole in the ground, a feature known as a crater. These craters are scattered across the globe and even extend to other planets and moons within our solar system.

They exhibit a wide range of sizes, from dimensions as small as a football field to others so large they are visible from space. The significance of craters lies in their ability to reveal information about Earth’s past conditions and afford scientists a better understanding of celestial objects.

Crater lakes

Crater lakes, an enthralling natural phenomenon that captivates children’s curiosity, are the product of celestial bodies such as asteroids or meteors colliding with the Earth, resulting in enormous cavities known as craters.

Over time, these craters become reservoirs for rainwater or groundwater, thereby transforming into lakes. These geographic wonders are distinct for their circular shape and profound depth, a factor that is contingent on the size of the original crater. Among the most renowned of these is the Crater Lake in Oregon, USA, proudly bearing the title of the deepest lake in the country.

In some instances, these lakes can feature islands at their center, as exemplified by Taal Lake in the Philippines. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, crater lakes serve as vital habitats for a variety of flora and fauna, thus playing a significant role in preserving biodiversity.

Fun Facts About The World’s Biggest Impact Craters for Kids

  • The Barringer Crater in Painted Desert, Arizona is a simple crater almost 1 mile wide. The crater was caused when a nickel iron meteorite about 150 feet in width hit the area 50,000 years ago.
Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Craters - View of the Barringer Crater in Arizona From Above
Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Craters – View of the Barringer Crater in Arizona From Above
  • The Spider Crater in Kimberley Plateau, Western Australia does indeed look like a spider. The middle is a dome with spiderlike ridges radiating outward. This crater is a complex crater — made between 600 and 900 million years ago. It is 8 miles wide.
Easy Science Kids Craters - View of the Spider Crater in Western Australia From Above
Easy Science Kids Craters – View of the Spider Crater in Western Australia From Above
  • The Lonar Crater in Maharashtra, India was also made 50,000 years ago. This simple crater is a large round hole a little over 1 mile wide. Because it rains so much in India, the crater has filled with water, becoming a lake.
All about Craters Fun Facts for Kids - Image of the Lonar Crater Lake in India
All about Craters Fun Facts for Kids – Image of the Lonar Crater Lake in India
  • The Manicouagan Crater in Quebec, Canada is 60 miles wide and was made 212 million years ago. The complex crater includes a small mountain peak in the center with a ring-shaped lake around it.
All about Craters Easy Science for Kids - View of the Manicouagan Crater in Canada From Above
All about Craters Easy Science for Kids – View of the Manicouagan Crater in Canada From Above

Craters Vocabulary

  1. Collide: smash into
  2. Converted: changed
  3. Intense: extreme
  4. Debris: fragments, remnants

All About Craters Video for Kids

Here’s the best kids Craters video you can watch right now to learn more about Craters:

Craters Q&A

Question: Where is the impact crater that caused the dinosaurs to become extinct?

Answer: The Chicxulub Crater lies in the northern Yucatan coast of Mexico. The meteorite hit around 66 million years ago and the crater is 150 miles wide. This huge crater is now buried under rocks, but can be detected with surveying equipment.


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