The Great Meteor Crater, Arizona

Just five miles south of the 40 is the meteor crater.  The best preserved and first proven meteor impact crater on earth.  Seen in many Hollywood films such as Starman, this crater is enormous and very famous.  The original meteor that hit here was only 150 feet wide but that’s more than enough to simulate over a twenty ton nuclear bomb!!!

The crater hit here about 50,000 years ago and came in at 26,000 mph, wow!  From what they tell us that’s like flying from LA to New York in only 5 minutes.

Folks, if you are ever near this area I highly recommend you stop in here and view this awesome site, it really is incredible.

 

About The Crater :

Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater approximately 37 miles (60 km) east of Flagstaff and 18 miles (29 km) west of Winslow in the northern Arizona desert of the United States. Because the United States Board on Geographic Names commonly recognizes names of natural features derived from the nearest post office, the feature acquired the name of “Meteor Crater” from the nearby post office named Meteor. The site was formerly known as the Canyon Diablo Crater (“Canyon Diablo” meaning “Devil Canyon” in Spanish) and fragments of the meteorite are officially called the Canyon Diablo Meteorite. Scientists refer to the crater as Barringer Crater in honor of Daniel Barringer, who was first to suggest that it was produced by meteorite impact. The crater is privately owned by the Barringer family through their Barringer Crater Company, which proclaims it to be the “best preserved meteorite crater on Earth”. Despite its importance as a geological site, the crater is not protected as a national monument, a status that would require federal ownership. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in November 1967.

Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of 5,640 ft (1,719 m) above sea level. It is about 3,900 ft (1,200 m) in diameter, some 560 ft (170 m) deep, and is surrounded by a rim that rises 148 ft (45 m) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 690–790 ft (210–240 m) of rubble lying above crater bedrock. One of the interesting features of the crater is its squared-off outline, believed to be caused by existing regional jointing (cracks) in the strata at the impact site.

The crater was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper. The area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by mammoths and giant ground sloths.

The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 160 feet (50 meters) across. The speed of the impact has been a subject of some debate. Modeling initially suggested that the meteorite struck at up to 45,000 mph (20 km/s) but more recent research suggests the impact was substantially slower, at 29,000 mph (12.8 km/s). It is believed that about half of the impactor’s bulk was vaporized during its descent through the atmosphere. Impact energy has been estimated at about 10 megatons. The meteorite was mostly vaporized upon impact, leaving few remains in the crater.

Since the crater’s formation, the rim is thought to have lost 50–65 ft (15–20 m) of height at the rim crest as a result of natural erosion. Similarly, the basin of the crater is thought to have approximately 100 ft (30 m) of additional post-impact sedimentation from lake sediments and of alluvium. These erosion processes are the reason that very few remaining craters are visible on Earth, since many have been erased by these geological processes. The relatively young age of Meteor Crater, paired with the dry Arizona climate, have allowed this crater to remain almost unchanged since its formation. The lack of erosion that preserved the crater’s shape helped lead to this crater being the first crater recognized as an impact crater from a natural celestial body.

Click on the Logo to visit their official tourist site.