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Possible Meteorite Impact Structure Found in Jordan

Installed 23 Oct 2010. Latest update 20 Feb 2014.

On 17 October 2010, while studying the elevation contours near Dhiban (ancient Dibon) in Jordan, I stumbled upon a circular formation, which, appears to me to be a meteorite crater. Here is a Google Earth image of the structure. Elevation contours (50 foot vertical spacing) are overlaid on the image. If this is a meteorite crater, then I estimate a collision date between 1450 BC and 3000 BC. [Final sentence added 14 Dec 2010.]

Possible Meteorite Crater
Possible Meteorite Impact Crater at Adh Dhuhaybah, Amman Governorate, Jordan
Geographical coordinates: 31 deg 30 min 55 sec N, 35 deg 46 min 02 sec E.

The interior circular area, under cultivation and with orchards, is about 530 meters in diameter. The total diameter (where the rocky exterior ring rises above the surrounding terrain) is about 750 meters. I attribute the missing northeastern portion of the rocky ring to be due to erosion. Overall, the ground slopes downward to the Northeast.

This structure is located 1.1 miles (1.8 Km) Northwest of the ancient Moabite city of Dibon. The present day town of Adh Dhuhaybah has been built on the western and southern portion of the rocky surround.

There are mineralogical tests that are required to establish whether or not a feature is caused by meteor or asteroid impact. Until these are done, my tentative identification of this ringed structure as a meteorite impact crater must remain as a speculation.

                         Robert S. Fritzius
                        23 October 2010

To review the study that lead to finding this circular feature, please visit: The Other Herodium.
[Added 24 Oct 2010.]

Here is a Google Earth bird's-eye-view of the candidate impact structure. Elevation contours were drawn in using Google Earth's "path" function. The ancient Dibon mound and the modern day Dhiban can be seen in the upper left of the image.

Feature view from the North
Adh Dhuhaybah atop it's circular foundation as seen from the North
[Added 31 Oct 2010. Replaced with cloud-free image on 01 Jan 2011.]

Below is a Feb 2010 Landsat 7 image showing the circular structure. The bright region near the top of the image is the sunlit slope of the wadi which is located on the northern border of the feature. (See the first Google Earth image above.) The dark region, just below it, is the (in-shadow) slope of the wadi. (These comments also apply to the light and dark sinuous bands in the lower left part of the image.) [Added 14 Dec 2010. Revised 16 Dec 2010.]

Landsat 7 image of circular
formation at Adh Dhuhaybah, Jordan
LandSat 7 image of Adh Dhuhaybah, Jordan

Update Added on 30 Dec 2010

I speculate that the limestone rocky area encircling about half of the structure may originally have been an up-tilted crater-rim, but 3500 years or more of weathering has caused the sharp edge of the rim to be removed.

The Mesha Stele (A.K.A. The Moabite Stone), erected in ancient Dibon one mile from the circular feature, is made of blue-black basalt. I'd like to find out the degree of mineralogical similarity (or dis-similarity) between any basalt rocks found in the area and the material of the Moabite Stone.

A Panoramio Jordan's Nature photograph shows what might be a grey basalt rock. The rock can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture. The camera location for this photo was apparently 0.32 mile (515 meters) NNW of the center of the circular structure. A Jordan's Nature icon on Google Earth, also takes you to this photo.

Contact Robert Fritzius at fritzius@bellsouth.net
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