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Meteor Crater: Arizona’s meteorite crater

The Arizona Meteor Crater is a gigantic hole in the middle of the arid sandstone plain of the Arizona desert. The crater, formed by a meteor impact, is located near the city of Winslow. The crater which has a diameter of 1,250 meters and a depth of 173 meters, has a circumference of almost 5 km.

A DEVASTATING IMPACT

This crater was formed about fifty thousand years ago. When a huge meteorite composed mainly of iron and nickel minerals, weighing millions of tons and about 25/30 meters in diameter, hit the solid rock of the Arizona plain at a speed of about 70,000 km / hour.

The impact of the meteorite generated more force than any man-made nuclear explosion. The tremendous force generated caused the destruction of every life and every tree for a few kilometers from the point of impact.

The crater was first observed by white men in 1871, but at that time it was believed to be the crater of an extinct volcano. In 1890 some fragments of iron-nickel meteorites were found in the surrounding plain, this fact led some scientists to assume that the crater was formed by a giant meteorite. In 1902 Daniel Barringer Moreau, a mining engineer, became convinced that the crater had been created by a meteorite from space. He purchased the land where the crater was and formed a company to explore it, hoping to find the remains of the meteorite.

Barringer never found the remains of the meteorite. Today, scientists believe that the main part of the meteorite, around 80 percent, vaporized upon impact. A 5 percent dispersed in the surrounding area, while 10 percent remain below the southern crater border. The remaining 5 percent were destroyed by friction with the atmosphere before the impact.

METEOR CRATER USEFUL INFORMATION

The Meteor Crater is located approximately 40 miles (40 minutes by car) east of Flagstaff. The best place to stay to visit the crater is Flagstaff.

Hours: The park is open from 8.00 to 17.00 (19.00 in summer) every day. While it is closed for Christmas. Finally on Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday of November) the park is open from 8.00 to 13.00.

Tickets: The entrance ticket costs $ 16.00 per person, kids between 6 and 17 years old $ 8.00 (under 5 years old the entrance is free).

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