All About the Meteor Crater, Arizona

The Meteor Crater in Arizona is the best-preserved meteor impact site anywhere on earth.

This makes it a favorite location of geologists, astronomers, and tourists alike.

Why Is It Famous?

This landmark is famous due to the high level of preservation of the meteor crash site. It gives us a glimpse of history and is incredibly unique. In the past, the site has been called the Canyon Diablo Crater. Fragments from the meteor go by the name of Canyon Diablo Meteorite.

What’s Nearby?

The Meteor Crater sits in Arizona’s High Desert. There is now a visitor center on the rim of it, along with a crater trail for visitors to explore. The Meteor Crater is close to Winslow, which is near old Route 66 and Interstate 40.

Geological Description

The crater was created around 50,000 years ago when a meteor hit the American Southwest. Experts estimate that it hit the earth with more energy than you could produce with 20 million tons of TNT. At the time of the impact, the Colorado Plateau was damper and cooler. The meteorite was likely around 160 feet (50 meters) in diameter. There is a debate about its likely speed, with estimates ranging from 29,000 mph to 45,000 mph.

The meteor sits 5,710 feet (1,740 meters) above sea level. It is 560 feet (170 meters) deep and 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) in diameter. The rim rises 148 feet (45 meters) over the plains around it. There are 690 to 790 feet of rubble in the center of the crater over its bedrock.

The crater has a squared-off outline that geologists believe was due to regional cracks to the strata at the site of impact.

Events in Time

Daniel Barringer was the first expert to suggest the crater came from a meteor, leading to scientists naming it the Barringer Crater. The Barringer Crater is privately owned. Because it is privately owned, it cannot be a national monument. However, the government declared it a National Natural Landmark in 1967.

In Conclusion

The Meteor Crater in Arizona’s desert shows the impact of a meteor that crashed into the area 50,000 years ago. Today, the area has rubble, and scientists have found pieces of meteorite there.