Meteor Crater, also called Barringer Meteorite Crater, Coon Butte, Arizona Meteor Crater, or Canyon Diablo, rimmed, bowl-shaped pit produced by a large meteorite in the rolling plain of the Canyon Diablo region, 19 miles (30 km) west of Winslow, Arizona, U.S. The crater is 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) in diameter and about 600 feet (180 meters) deep inside its rim, which rises nearly 200 feet (60 meters) above the plain. Drillings reveal undisturbed rock beneath 700–800 feet (213–244 meters) of fill. The strata forming the rim of the crater are upturned and covered with the debris of the same bedrock, which shows an inverted stratigraphy.
Discovered in 1891, its age has been variously estimated at between 5,000 and 50,000 years. Large numbers of nickel–iron fragments from gravel size to 1,400 pounds (640 kg) have been found in a 100-square-mile (260-square-kilometre) area. The distribution and composition of several thousand tons of sand-grain size nickel–iron droplets indicate that they condensed from a cloud of metallic vapors. Surveys show only fragments within the pit, but the 1960 discovery there of high-pressure modifications of silica, helped to confirm the crater’s meteoritic origin, a position that had been argued for 27 years by Philadelphia mining engineer D.M. Barringer.
In May 2008. Kevin, Katelynn and I drove to Amarillo, Texas to get to I-40, which brought us through Albuquerque, New Mexico again. And from there it wasn’t too far to get to Arizona. We wanted to visit the Petrified Forest National Park first. But we arrived in Arizona in the wee hours of the morning. So, we decided to keep driving and take that National Park on the way back home.
Around 6 am, we arrived at the Barringer Meteor Crater. Katelynn just woke up in her car seat. And we still had two hours to wait, before the place operated. After we ate some breakfast we had in the cooler, I put some warmer clothes on top of my shirt and shorts on. It gets an itsy bitsy more frigid in the desert and at the higher altitude. Katelynn and I walked around for a little bit, while Kevin took a short nap behind the stirring wheel. (No worries! The Jeep was parked by the gate.) After sitting in the car for so long, it was nice to stretch out our muscles. I took a good look at the rim of the crater, and noticed how massive it was seeing it just from outside.
At eight o’clock the gate opened, and we could access the parking lot at the crater. After we paid the entry fee, we looked at some neat stuff, like the Apollo Test Capsule, the “Window to the Desert”, and the biggest fragment that has been found from the meteor, which impacted the area. While we waited for our tour guide, we could look outside a window to see the crater. Kevin and my jaws dropped. With being about 3,900ft (1,200m) in diameter and some 560ft (170m) deep, it is a huge hole in the ground. The tour guide told us stories about the impact of the meteor, a plane crash in 1964, Mr. Barringer’s findings, and the NASA training for the Apollo Missions to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The tour and the higher elevation made us hungry. We decided to have lunch at the Subway inside the center, before we traveled to the canyon. By the time we arrive, our camping lot should be ready.
… to be continued …