Fifty thousand years ago a meteor ended its 500 million year long race through space in a spectacular collision with earth. The resulting violent explosion created Meteor Crater, the first proven, best preserved impact site on our planet.
The meteor's impact left a crater nearly a mile across and more than 550 feet deep. Today, visitors from across the globe marvel at the huge site where a 60 story building on the floor would not reach the rim. It would accommodate two million fans on the crater walls watching 20 football games being played simultaneously on the crater floor.
Visitors can choose to view the crater via the air-conditioned indoor viewing area or venture out on the crater's rim on one of several observation trails. Guided rim tours are also available for hikers with appropriate foot wear.
Meteor Crater's terrain so closely resembles that of the moon and other planets it was an official training site for NASA Apollo astronauts. Information learned here has provided scientists with the keys to unlock the secrets of how our solar system and universe were formed.
Simulation of what the meteor impact might have looked like
It is interesting to note that early settlers thought that the Meteor Crater was just another extinct volcano, possibly part of the Hopi Buttes volcanic field located northeast of the crater. It wasn't until 1960 that Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, former Chief of the Branch of Astrogeology of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff proved beyond any doubt that Meteor Crater was indeed the product of a giant impact event.
The Meteor Crater is located 35 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona and 20 miles west of Winslow, Arizona. From Interstate 40 take exit 233 and go south about 5 miles on Meteor Crater Road. There is an admission fee to view the crater and they are open all year.
If you are traveling in a RV, you might want to stay the night at the Meteor Crater RV Park.
For intormation call 928-289-2362.
The Holsinger Meteorite is the largest fragment of the 150-foot meteor that created Meteor Crater.