Meteor Crater – Crater that can be seen from space

By Narendra V

meteor crater

METEOR CRATERmeteor crater

Meteor crater or Barringer crater is located in Arizona desert in the United States. It is more than 1 km in diameter, depth of 170 m and rim of the crater rise by 45 m from surrounding area. It is a meteorite impact crater.


It is estimated to be formed around 50000 years ago by impact of iron-nickel meteor of 50m diameter at a speed of 12 km/s, it vaporized upon impact which released 10 megatons of TNT. At that time the area was inhabited by wooly mammoths and a lot cooler than today.

In 19th century European settlers discovered the crater and thought it was formed because of volcanic activity.

In 1903 Daniel Barringer a businessman and mining engineer proposed that an iron meteorite impact created the crater. His company got mining license to do mining activity in the center of the crater. Barringer thought the iron meteorite would have weighed around millions of tons and may be buried under the soil beneath the crater. He drilled the crater to more than 400m but didn’t find any iron.

But because of his work on the crater scientists call the crater in his name as an honor.

Today the crater is owned by a Barringer family through a company and they collect fees from tourists to see the crater. It is a good tourist attraction in Arizona desert.

Normally craters will wither away due to erosion, rains, climatic conditions but meteor crater preserved all these years because of younger age, dry climate of Arizona desert. Even though the rim of the crater was reduced by 15-20m in height.

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