Meteor Crater Arizona Facts: Its Size, When Was It Created And More | Kidadl


Meteor Crater Arizona Facts: Its Size, When Was It Created And More

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Also known as a Barringer Meteor Crater, centered around the north rim features in the list of tourist attraction spots in Northern Arizona.

A meteorite impact crater, the Barringer Meteorite Crater is certainly not a public landmark but is counted among the possessions of the Barringer family, privately. Meteor Crater is located in the Northern desert of the state of Arizona.

Meteor Crater is a place unlike any other on the face of the Earth. This incident took place some 50,000 years ago when a meteorite in the Solar System entered Earth's atmosphere and landed with a huge impact on the Earth's surface.

This impact crater is approximately 0.75 mi (1.2 km) in diameter, it is 600 ft (180 m) deep and the crater's edge that surrounds the impact site rises 148.5 ft (45 m) upwards of the surrounding plains. Meteor Crater was discovered in 1891 but its age is somewhere between 5,000-50,000 years. The location of the crater is 37.5 mi (60 km) east and 18.1 mi (29 km) west of Flagstaff and Winslow, respectively, in the region of northern Arizona’s Colorado Plateau, United States.  It is said to be among the most well-preserved craters. Based on the meteorite specimens, experts estimate that a 100-170 ft (30-50 m) wide nickel-iron meteorite was the space object that resulted in the Meteor Crater. As per estimation, the energy liberated from the impact range between 15-40 megatonnes.

Read on to know more about the Barringer crater floor and lake sediments. Afterwards, also check Arizona agriculture facts and animals in Arizona.

Meteor Crater History

The crater is said to have been formulated during the Pleistocene epoch and its age is around 50,000 years.  Located in Arizona, it is lodged between Flagstaff and Winslow.

At the time of its creation, the Colorado Plateau’s environment was unheated and moistened. The area that surrounded Meteor Carter was inhabited by extinct beings at the time, and the region was a pasture, obscured by boscage.

The speed with which the impact was made has been controversial. Earlier, it was propounded that the meteorite materialized with a speed up to 45,000 mph (20km/s), however, contemporary studies reflect on the speed being slower, standing at 29,000 mph (12.8 km/s). Unearthed in 1891, the crater, as per the available records, is around 560 ft (170 m) on the inside of its rim, its diameter is 3,900 ft (1,200 m) and it is 148 ft (45 m) over and above the lowland.

As for the power felt by its impact, the meteor released energy of about 10 megatons of TNT. Furthermore, as a consequence of natural erosion, the high point of the rim has decreased by 50-65 ft (15.1-19.6 m) at the rim crest. Owing to erosive geological processes, at best a meager number of craters are evident on the face of the Earth. But why is this crater almost the same as it was when it appeared? The answer lies in the area’s climate. On account of its young age fused with Arizona’s parched climate, the crater remains unaltered and static. This is also the first crater that has been recognized as an impact crater, originating from an unrefined extraterrestrial body.

Discovery And Investigation

Only after the American settlers came across the crater in the 19th century, did the scientists become mindful of its existence. Before finalizing one, it was accorded several names including, Coon Mountain, 'Crater Mountain', 'Meteor Mountain', among others.

Besides these, the crater is commonly referred to as Barringer Crater because Daniel M. Barringer was among the first few people to have claimed that the crater was fabricated by meteorite impact, also because they, aka the Barringer family by the early 20th century, purchased the crater.

Meteorites from the area were also given the name Canyon Diablo meteorites, along the lines of a ghost town called Canyon Diablo, Arizona, the crater’s most contiguous community in the late 19th century. At first, the explosion was caused by the crater as thought to be by a volcano, probably because the San Francisco volcanic field is at a distance of 40 mi (64 km) west from it.

Albert E. Foote, a Philadelphia physician, mineralogist, and mineral dealer, was the first one to have started the journey of understanding Meteor Crater in 1891 by putting forth a paper, scientific in nature, concerning northern Arizona's meteorites, first of its kind. Albert was introduced to the crater by a railway executive who dispatched him a specimen of iron from the crater. As soon as he got his hands on the sample, he examined it and cognized it to be a meteorite. On this discovery, he rushed, along with his team, to the location, '185 mi (296 km) due north of Tucson', and accumulated heaps and fragments of meteoritic iron, that ranged over and above 594 lb (270 kg).

Foote got wind of the meteorite containing minerals such as troilite, daubréelite, carbon, and diamonds, of celestial origin. Foote then presented his finding in the form of a paper, the crater’s foremost geological elucidation to the scientific community, to the Association for the Advancement of Science.

Further, Grove Karl Gilbert, a prominent figure in the US Geological Survey,  was among the people presented at Foote’s lecture and was entranced by it. Soon, he looked into the crater and made his final remarks that it was the reverberation of a volcano’s steam explosion. He believed that, had it been an impact crater, there would exist meteoritic material.

Besides, he measured the craters and the material ejected into its rim's volume. Had they been equal, he would deduce that no mass was stationed underneath the crater’s floor.

Additionally, he measured the crater’s magnetic field and uncovered the same volume, and described no magnetic anomaly. In 1892, Gilbert proposed that cause for the moon’s craters was impact, not volcanism, the first to have brought this to the forefront.

Daniel Moreau Barringer, designated as a businessman and engineer of mining, advocated that the impact of a substantial size of iron metallic meteorite produced the crater. The Standard Iron, a company owned by Barringer, enforced a mining affirmation and acquired land copyright, validated by the prominent Theodore Roosevelt for 1.6 mi (2.6 km) on all sides of the crater’s center in 1903. Roosevelt endorsed the inception of a freshly labeled meteor, post office, Arizona located at Sunshine, halt on the  Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, 6 mi north of the crater.

The company researched the crater’s origin in the middle of 1903-1905, the conclusion being that, indeed, it was created as a result of an impact. The evidence of this theory was documented and handed over in the year 1906 to the U.S Geological Survey, by Barringer and his partner Benjamin Chew Tilghman, a mathematician and Physicist. It was also published in  'Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences' in Philadelphia. Barringer’s claims were seen with some doubt, primarily because there was hesitation in accepting a meteorite's role in earthbound geology. Barringer supported the hypothesis he created by bringing to light the meteorite's remnants.

Harvey H. Nininger, a meteoriticist, and educator from America resuscitated in the 130s, the interest in the scientific study of meteorites and gathered a colossal personal collection of meteorites, as of that time. His pamphlet, A Comet Strikes the Earth, published in Delver, Colorado, explains the Meteor crater originated when an asteroid impacted Earth. Additionally, he published several books related to catering from the American Meteorite Museum near route 66, earlier called Meteor Crater Observatory, and renamed by him. Further, due to Nininger’s sample and fieldwork, the scientific community accepted that the meteor crater was formed by an asteroid’s impact.

In 1948, he was able to successfully petition the American Astronomical Society into passing a motion supporting the nationalization of the crater. But his exploration rights and the will to take up any more fieldwork stay terminated by the Barringer Family and he is not allowed any sort of display at the privately-owned museum on the crater rim.

Eugene M. Shoemaker’s research established that an asteroid impact was responsible for the formation of the crater. The notable factor was the appearance of minerals coesite and stishovite, infrequent types of silica, in the crater. Shoemaker also trained Apollo astronauts at Meteor Crater and was significant to the field of astrology by founding Flagstaff’s US Geological Survey Astrogeology Branch.

Visiting Meteor Crater, Arizona

The Barringer Crater is an amazing place to visit. This world-famous tourist attraction welcomes visitors by giving you a ticket; an e-ticket is also available on their website, its price ranges from $13 to $22, depending on your age.

The Carter is owned by the Barringer Family via their company which is named 'Barringer Crater Company'. North Rim's tourist point highlights engaging displays and exhibits concerning meteorites, asteroids, and other exhilarating topics concerning space, and the Solar System.

You can also have a look at the enthralling contrivances and such antique and exhilarating artifacts like Apollo boilerplate or also known as (BP-29), a meteorite that was unearthed in the region weighing 1,406 lb (638 kg), including meteorites of various kinds from Meteor Crater that can be felt. The center, formerly named Museum of Astrology,  boasts some other interesting options for instance- a movie theater, endowment shop, and a chance to view the inside of the rim crater. There is also a 4D theater that is open all seven days of the week from 8:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.

Guided Rim Tours

As the name suggests, there is a privilege for you to take on a guided tour of the rim, for a detailed and comprehensive journey around the crater.

It usually takes around 30-40 minutes. The tour is completely outdoors and since it's guided, you will be walking alongside experts who know everything about the landmark’s history and the impact science behind it. You will get to hear about this event that occurred 50,000 years ago and also the geologic impact that this crater created.

Not just that, you will get to explore how this is the most well-preserved crater in the whole world and what role Arizona's dry climate has played in this preservation. See from up close while hiking this natural wonder. Also learn how impact processes helped develop our planet, satellites, asteroids, and comets. All in all, if you choose this guided rim tour, your perspective on the changes that occurred by the impact will take a whole new direction.

The Barringer Crater is an amazing place to visit

Canyon Diablo Meteorites

The culmination of fragments of the asteroid that created Meteor Crater, Arizona, United States, is referred to as the Canyon Diablo.

There has been evidence of meteorites around the crater rim, what's more, they are named for neighboring Canyon Diablo, a Canyon near Two Guns in Northern Arizona, which lies approximately three to four miles west of the crater.

The asteroid hit Earth about 50,000 years ago. The prehistoric Native Americans were the first ones to have discovered it and it has been used for studying by the scientific community since the 19th century. The craters which reflected little to no evidence of volcanism were centered around the debate over its origin for a long time, from the late 19th to the early 20th century. At last, the controversy was put in one direction after Daniel M. Barringer, F, R Moulton, Harvey Harlow Naninger, and Eugene Shoemaker, released their work. Meteorites are mainly iron octahedrite.

The most enormous fragment unearthed is on display in the Meteor Crater tourist point on the crater’s rim, named the Holsinger Meteorite, weighing 1409 lb (639 kg).

Meteor Crater & Space Museum

The Meteor Crater is said to have been formulated during the geological era and its age is around 50,000 years. It is said to be among the most well-preserved craters. As per estimation, the energy liberated from the impact range between 15-40 megatonnes.

The Space Museum at the center is a self-guided, educational attraction. It is indoor, is air-conditioned, engaging, and close captions are provided for in-depth scrutinization. You will also get a STEM education. But if you choose a guided rim tour, an expert will give you all the details. With its displays and hands-on exhibits, you get to dwell in the science and history of meteorites' impacts.

Further, if you are seeking a more detailed history of Daniel Barringer and the story behind founding the Meteor Crater, how it impacted the lowland, and its role in the development of the Earth, and scientific studies, your search ends here. This is not where all the fun ends, there is something special for all you history buffs as well, you will have the chance to learn about the mysteries related to meteorite impact sites such as the Siberian Explosion of 1908, craters on the Moon, and more. Also feel the surface of the largest specimen ever found, the Holsinger Meteorite. With this, understand the distinction between asteroids, comets, meteorites, meteors, and meteoroids. Come here for the wonderful savvy of the ten most young and massive craters on Earth and how we can safeguard our planet from future impacts.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for meteor crater Arizona facts then why not take a look at Arizona desert facts, or Arizona cypress tree facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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