It doesn’t matter how many cartoon-smashing sounds you can imagine, nothing could prepare you for a comet splitting through space and hitting Earth to blast a BIG hole.
We’re talking a really really big hole.
The abyss created from this impact was 62 kilometres wide, 30 kilometres long and 15 kilometres deep into the earth. (That’s 39 miles x 19 miles x 9.3 miles). This can only happen when a bolide is 10-15 kilometres (6.2 – 9.3 miles) wide.
I can’t even imagine looking up to see a fireball that size. Though I’m guessing you wouldn’t have too long to think about it before being obliterated.
Scientists say it likely vaporized on contact and the resulting crater (the world’s second largest after the Vredefort Crater in South Africa) filled with magma containing nickel, copper, platinum, palladium, gold, and other metals.
A mere 1.85 billion years later, this would be the reason for the city of Sudbury. And that, dear people is why we have stainless steel sinks.
OK. I missed a few steps.
Because of this incredible deposit of metals, Sudbury is one of the world’s largest suppliers of nickel and copper. And nickel is used for more than rounding up your bill at the corner store. Nickel is the metal, that, combined with iron, gives us the wonder of stainless steel.
Like anything in life, mining turned out to be a bit of a mixed blessing. Clearly, our demand for mining products is demonstrated in everything we own, especially our endless appetite for shiny kitchens.
So, this is pretty good news for the world.
But the cost…well, let’s just say that ‘back in the day’, the environment wasn’t on the top of the agenda. To be fair…they started this whole mining thing in the late 1800s when the idea was to take everything at any cost.
But in the 1970s, Sudburians got a lot smarter. They looked around at what they’d taken as ‘normal’ and decided it was no longer acceptable. The resulting clean-up was massive.
Today, emissions from the mills are down 90% while 15 million trees (and counting) have been planted to green up the formerly-blasted landscape.
For today’s visitor, if it wasn’t for those old moonscape pictures, it would be hard to believe that Sudbury was ever anything but green. The current landscape is filled with trees, lakes, trails and some pretty funky old buildings that have been repurposed as great places to hang out.
Visit Kuppa Jo and add a little extra money (maybe some of those extra nickels) to help pay it forward with their suspended coffee program.
Or go to the Townhouse and have one of the best burger and fries combo I’ve had in a long while.
Check out the Dynamic Earth interactive museum.
Take a walk around some of those beautiful leafy parks.
Or tuck into the curried chickpea salad and BrieLT sandwich at the Laughing Buddha.
Whatever you choose to do when you visit, make sure you remember to count yourself among the lucky – you get to visit the site of one of the world’s biggest collisions – long after it happened.
Now. Excuse me while I polish my stainless steel sink.
Thank you Sudbury.