Saturday, December 13, 2008

Road Trip: Holes in the Ground, part 2

Today's photo spread comes from yesterday's visit to Meteor Crater, which lies between Flagstaff and Winslow in northern Arizona. It was created about 50,000 years ago when a 150-foot diameter meteor traveling approximately 30,000 mph struck the earth from the northeast. The crater is about 4,000 feet across and nearly 600 feet deep. The rim of the crater rises about 150 feet above the surrounding terrain, which is relatively flat. The largest piece of the meteorite that has been recovered is a chunk about a yard across, which is on display in the visitor center. Visitors are not allowed down into the crater, but instead must content themselves with taking it all in from the viewing platforms. NASA has used the crater for astronaut training, and there is an astronauts wall of fame at the visitor center.

This is how it appears on the approach: the rim looks like a small rock formation.

The visitor's initial view across the crater from the visitor center, which is at the north side. The southern wall of the crater, sheltered from the sun, has snow on the ground.

These two pictures show the floor of the crater, where various efforts were made in the first decades of the 20th century to recover the meteorite.

The visitor center and surrounding landscape, seen from the highest viewing platform.

From the same platform, here's an attempt to give you a panorama-like view of the crater, from left to right:

This is the largest piece of the meteorite ever found.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I saw the crater when I was 7 years old. Unlike other memories from the past; it hasn't gotten any smaller.