So I was browsing Google Earth the other day and I found this strange formation near Râmnicu Vâlcea, at about 45°07'N 24°16'E

One view Another view

It's an almost circular region, about 40 km in diameter which to my eyes looks like a multi ringed impact crater, but then again it's near a mountain chain so it could be just some random feature created by the converging tectonic plates. But what could cause the hills to be arranged in this strange manner?

Elevation profiles

North-South: NS profile

East-West EW profile

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    $\begingroup$ Personally I'm not convinced there's anything there. It is only really evident in the bottom half of the circle. I'm inclined to think it's just a few roughly parallel river valleys. $\endgroup$
    – bon
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ This question deserves a great investigative answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen you're right the picture is skewed. I added another view from top. As well as elevation profiles also obtained from Google Earth. I'm wouldn't be able to provide any more than this as I don't live in the area so I can't perform any readings myself. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ It has been suggested that land morphology near Râmnicu Vâlcea may have been the result of a large meteor (bolide) strike. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ @GaryKindel: do you have any more information on this? Perhaps nothing has been peer reviewed, but who has made this suggestion/how popular it is/what evidence they have? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


My guess is streams fed by mountains that have been tectonically compressed and is undergoing some rotation. Near Italy are 3 tectonic boundary. Convergent, transform, and divergent. Due to the plate motion of the Eurasian plate, to the African plate, and the Arabian plate, it is causing compression and what I can describe as some rotation the land. It appears to be an involved relationship. I used Google Earth to create this map:

Image of eastern Med and Caspian

I hope I helped or gave you a direction to look. As you can see by the arrows, there are areas of convergence that are oblique and related in a way, that his geologic feature is not at all impossible.

Other sources


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