Archive for October 18th, 2012

A Visit to Meteor Crater

October 18th, 2012

ARIZONA – A short drive east of Flagstaff will bring you to a fabulous view of the San Francisco Peaks and a Natural Landmark called Meteor Crater.

Meteor Crater was named as one of Smithsonian Magazine’s “ten most spectacular geological sites.” With a diameter of over 4000 ft and a depth of ~550 ft, the nearly perfect circular crater is truly impressive. According to the tour guide, the crater floor could host 20 simultaneous football games while 2 million fans watch from the crater walls!

The crater was formed by an impact about 50,000 years ago and pieces of Fe-Ni meteorites have been found in the surrounding area since the late 1800s.

20121017-210325.jpg Here I am in the bottom of the crater searching for meteorites. Actually, that’s a backdrop in the museum.

20121017-210812.jpg This is what the center of the crater floor looks like: fenced remnants of an abandoned drill shaft. In the early 1900s, a Philadelphia mining engineer named Daniel Barringer drilled the crater floor searching for a potential ore body, which he never found because researchers think that the meteorite was destroyed during the impact.

In the mid 1960s to early 1970s, NASA used the crater to train Apollo astronauts. If you look closely at the fence, there’s an American flag and an astronaut figure in the near-right corner that honors those Apollo astronauts.

Meteor Crater is definitely worth the trip. Take the guided rim tour and ask for Eduardo; he’s very knowledgeable and will have you laughing at each stop.