Why are there no craters on Earth? Did all the meteorites miss us? (Beginner)

Noting the amount of craters on every clear picture of planets, why does the earth have so few? Were we just lucky, or are we out of the main path of large meteors and the like?

No, we weren't lucky at all. In fact, most astronomers believe that the Earth was once hit by a mars-sized object, an event which created the Moon. In addition to this major hit, the Earth has been struck by just as many meteorites as all the other moons and planets, and would be completely pockmarked with craters if it weren't for one thing: erosion. The Earth has several very efficient erosion mechanisms which wipe away craters and other geological formations at a very rapid rate. Wind, rain, floods, oceans, ice ages, and plate tectonics all serve to constantly recycle the surface of our planet, wiping away most of the evidence you see in abundance on other moons and planets.

This page checked on July 18, 2015.

About the Author

Dave Kornreich

Dave was the founder of Ask an Astronomer. He got his PhD from Cornell in 2001 and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Physical Science at Humboldt State University in California. There he runs his own version of Ask the Astronomer. He also helps us out with the odd cosmology question.

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