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The Crater of Doom



The Crater of Doom

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.35

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    atomic, best, physicist, meteorite, element, comet, atmosphere, impact, explanation, theory, impression, asteroid, courtesy, accept, scientist, meteor
     content words:    Donald E., Walter Alvarez, Luis Alvarez, Nobel Prize-winning


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The Crater of Doom
By Cindy Grigg
  

1      Artist's impression of the meteor impact 65 million years ago. Photo courtesy of Donald E. Davis, artist, and NASA
 
2     Have you ever seen a shooting star? Shooting stars, also called meteors, are pieces of dust and rock that burn as they fall through Earth's atmosphere. Many of them are as small as a grain of sand. Larger chunks that don't burn up completely are called meteorites when they land on Earth's surface. Earth gets many of these surprise visitors each day!
 
3     How many? Thousands of tiny, sand-grain-sized meteorites fall on Earth's surface every day. About 100 larger ones, maybe the size of a soccer ball, fall every year. On average, one meteorite about the size of a house hits the Earth about every 100 years. These make pits in the ground called craters. At different times in Earth's past, a really big meteorite has hit the Earth. One of these is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

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