The Physical and Social Effects of the Kaali Meteorite Impact — a Review

  • Siim Veski
  • Atko Heinsalu
  • Anneli Poska
  • Leili Saarse
  • Jüri Vassiljev


There is a concern that the world we know today will end in a global ecological disaster and mass extinction of species caused by a meteorite impact (Chapman and Morrison 1994; Chapman 2004). We are aware that rare large impacts have changed the face of our planet as reflected by extinctions at the Permian/Triassic (∼251 Ma; Becker et al. 2001), Triassic/Jurassic (∼200 Ma; Olsen et al. 2002) and Cretaceous/Tertiary (∼65 Ma; Alvarez et al. 1980) boundaries. Today astronomers can detect and predict the orbits of the asteroids/comets that can cause similar impacts. Yet, Tunguska, Meteor Crater-size and smaller meteorites that could cause local disasters are unforeseeable. However, while planning to avoid the next bombardment by cosmic bodies we can look at past interactions of human societies, environment and meteorite impacts to understand to what extent human cultures were influenced by meteorite impacts. The question is whether the past examples are relevant in the modern situation, but they are certainly useful. The Kaali crater field in Estonia, in that respect, is an excellent case study area for past human-meteorite interactions. Moreover, Kaali is not the only Holocene crater field in this region: in fact, during the last 10 000 years Estonia has been targeted at least by four crater forming impacts and there are five registered meteorite falls (Fig. 15.1). The two large craters, Neugrund and Kärdla, originate from 535 and 455 Ma, respectively (Suuroja and Suuroja 2000). cr]


Impact Crater Iron Meteorite Meteorite Impact Pollen Accumulation Rate Pollen Influx 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siim Veski
    • 1
  • Atko Heinsalu
    • 1
  • Anneli Poska
    • 1
  • Leili Saarse
    • 1
  • Jüri Vassiljev
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeologyTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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