Lonar Crater, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Yet another amazing place we visited while at Aurangabad was the Lonar Crater.

Many interplanetary bodies move around in space. Some of these outer space bodies enter the Earth’s atmosphere; we call them shooting stars when we see them at night. The small ones get burnt off and when a giant one hits the Earth’s surface we get Craters like that at LONAR. This place was hit by a meteorite 52,000 years ago and it has left a dent in the surface of the earth like a huge saucer.

From where I was standing it was not possible to capture the entire crater in one shot. I have put two shots of it here.

“This is the only hyper velocity impact crater in Basaltic rock” mentioned on a plaque there. Many millions of meteorites must have hit the earth’s surface; of them many have got eroded and erased by the ravages of time. Today only 140 craters in the surface of our world are in records. The Lonar Crater is one in the list and is situated in Buldhana district of Maharashtra. It is 165km. from Aurangabad. And it is the third largest in world!

There is mention of this crater in ancient scriptures like Padma Puran and Skanda Puran. There are references of it even in Aaina-e-Akbari, the third volume of the Akbarnama. It was sort of rediscovered by C J E Alexander in 1823. The first opinion about it was that it was a volcanic crater.

Geological Significance and Scientific Studies

This crater was declared as an impact crater after a lot of study and debates for almost a century and half. The initial confusion was over whether it is a volcanic crater as it was situated in the volcanic region of Deccan plateau. In 1952, a geologist C A Cotton, in his work stated that there has been almost nil volcanic processes in the Indian subcontinent, and so he stated that Lonar crater has meteoritic origin.

Two other scientists N. C. Nandy and V. B. Deo surveyed the crater site and checked for volcanic remains like cooled lava. In 1964 Eugene C Lafond and Robert S. Dietz too came to the conclusion that it is an impact crater and estimated its origin to be about 52,000 years ago. This crater is thus stated to be one of the youngest craters in the world.

Geographical features of Lonar Crater

The crater is circular in shape and the depth to diameter ratio is typical of an impact crater. The raised rim of the crater is 20m above the surrounding. The surrounding rock dips away from the crater edge at angles of 14 to 27 degrees. These factors are indicative that the Lonar crater is of impact origin.

The crater is 150m deep and the diameter is 1.8kilometers. The crater floor is flat and is filled with saline water. The descent was steep, just rocks cut at some places and uncut for most part. Trekking here in monsoons can be a real challenge and adventurous one.

Flora and Fauna in Lonar Crater

As we descended the rim and reached the banks of the crater we found ourselves in a thick forest. I had read that the dense cover housed birds like peacocks, partridges, long beaked Green Bee Eaters and also animals like deer, iguana, and rabbits. We strained ourselves if we could spot any and all we could see there were a few langoors.

After that strenuous descent in scorching sun, the forest cover provided us the well deserved shade and cool breeze. The sounds of the birds, butterflies and the sights of scampering squirrels refreshed us a lot. We kept walking and then all of a sudden there was this clearing among the huge trees and the lake was visible.

(… to be completed in next post.)

Update: Lonar Crater Part – 2

Lonar Crater (part-2), Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Lesser Known Aurangabad Caves Tour, Maharashtra

24 Responses to “Lonar Crater, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

  • Great pictures of a beautiful looking place. I’ve enjoyed it very much. Lonar crater is added to my list!
    Now, as far as your comment: «I am sure you have never seen a crater», I’ll mention: S.Miguel, Azores, Faial, Azores and Vesuvius, just to name three… ;)))
    Enjoy and have a great week!

  • Interesting and informative article, and as usual excellent photographs. Now I want to go and see it all, too.

  • GMG: I visited your blogposts. Amazing, the number of places u have visited. All three of them are volcanic craters.

    Lonar is different, it is a meteoritic impact crater. The meteorite is still believed to be embedded few kilometers below at that spot. Thanks for those eyeopeners.

    Raji: Thanks.

  • Your first-hand account is turning out to be a real blogger’s guide to Aurangabad. Hope there are more treasures that you will continue to uncover for us (of late) armchair / desktop travellers!

  • You’re right, most craters are volcanic; but I think I’ve been to a (small) meteorite… Where? Can’t remember… 🙁
    Anyhow, Lonar is impressive and looks beautiful. A bit like Seven Cities in the Azores; the difference being that in São Miguel one of the lakes is blue and the other looks green…

  • “This place was hit by a meteorite 52,000 years ago and it has left a dent in the surface of the earth like a huge saucer.”

    Nice to know that some one can say with so much confidence that an object from the outer space created the crater and that was exactly 52,000 years ago!!

  • Interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

    Did you taste the waters?

  • What an amazing post..so did you get into the waters ? I remember going to one in Costa Rica or San salvador …dont remember abt 10 years ago..apparently there is one closer home too, but am not sure ..will research more and let you know

  • ranga- thanks 😉

    indicaspecies and laksmi- wait for the next post when I show you the snaps of water there.

  • WoW…some very beautifully captured shots…simply love the place through your lens……Wish U a Happy Holi. May this Holi brings a lot of joy and happiness in our life & Wish that your life becomes colorful as the colors of Holi..

    I am a bit too busy with my work now, which will continue, so couldn’t visit your blog for sometime…anyway, I will check your other posts later whenever I will get the break.

  • very interesting, Have heard of this, now after seeing your pictures, now its in my visit list. Cant wait for my children to grow older though.

  • Had read about this and its in one of my list…

  • Wow what an interesting place to visit!

  • wow! Such a beautiful place. I didn’t know about this place. Thanks to your blog that I get to know about so many wonderful places 🙂

  • A well written Post with great information, Indrani.. Beautiful Photographs of the place.. Thanks for sharing the Post!

  • Great info. Liking the Aurangabad series 🙂

  • This is all past , but what happens if any meteorite hits in future. Same as it many lakes in Himalayas are as a result of Volcano.

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    2 years ago

    Adding this to my list. The geographical facts are quite interesting!

  • Very interesting and info

  • Lovely pictures. Interesting place. Thanks for sharing

  • Very interesting-I did not know about it’s existence before.

  • Lately I have been fascinated by meteorite hits on earth and then I get to read this post of yours! Loved it 🙂

  • Super cool!
    My kind of place. 🙂

    Thank you Indrani. 🙂

  • We missed this when we visited as we were short of time! Great post; hopefully i can visit some time.

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