Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Left Lane
Approximately 50,000 years ago. A giant chunk of metal composed of Iron, and Nickel reaching 150’ feet in diameter. Went hurtling through space, on a collision course with Earth. Capable of obtaining speeds approaching 158,000 mph.
As it entered into Earth’s Thermosphere, at over 100 miles above the ground, and weighing in at over three hundred thousand pounds. The friction caused by this volatile, high speed atmospheric entry superheated this chunk of metal to over 3000° Fahrenheit.
Traveling at over 26,000 mph across the Earth, this superheated, burning ball of glowing metal lit up the night sky. Sending a shockwave rolling across the Earth.
In 10 seconds, or less it would strike the Earth’s surface, with the energy of 20,000,000 tons of TNT (20 Megatons), or over 83,000 terajoules of explosive energy.
Making it’s explosive force over 1000 times the energy released by “Little Boy” (63 terajoules). Which was the first atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, Japan during World War II in 1945.
The mind boggling, ground penetrating force this meteorite struck the ground with, left behind a rugged hole, scarring the Earth. Creating a massive Crater measuring some 600 feet deep, nearly a mile across, and 3 miles in circumference.
The meteorite that kicked up this great earthen mound of debris you see around the perimeter of the Meteor Crater, is called the “Canyon Diablo Meteorite”. The crater this meteorite left, is today known as the Barringer Crater
THE BARRINGER CRATER
When standing at the top of the Barringer Crater Rim. Words can’t do Justice for the immense scale of the impact zone. Without putting your camera into Panorama mode, or aerial photography, it’s nearly impossible to fit the whole Crater into a single photo while standing at the Rim.
The impact of the Canyon Diablo Meteorite, striking the Earth threw debris over a seven mile stretch of Desert. It is estimated that after the impact around 700 feet of debris, and soil fell back to the ground, burying the center of the Barringer Crater.
Even after 700 feet of debris, soil, and 50,000 years worth of erosion settled to the bottom to cover the Crater floor. It still remains around 600 feet deep to this very day.
THE BARRINGER SPACE MUSEUM
Before you go out tour the rim Crater side, you have the opportunity to browse the Barringer Space Museum. If you show up early enough before closing, you can even purchase a guided tour.
The Barringer Space Museum is full of interesting facts, about space, and the Barringer Crater. They also have plenty of artifacts, and info about other notable meteor strikes around the world.
Lay eyes on an actual Apollo Test Capsule that was used to run Splash Down scenarios for the Apollo missions. The testing conducted on this Capsule was important.
It made sure the Apollo command module would float upright, with the Astronauts upon Splash Down. The Apollo Missions, are the missions responsible for placing 12 Men on the surface of the Moon.
With the sandy desert environment, rocks, and debris scattered by the Meteorite Impact over several miles. The Barringer Crater was deemed the closest landscape on Earth to resemble the surface of the moon. It was used for training the Apollo Mission Astronauts from 1963 to 1970.
After you’re done touring the Meteor Crater, and Barringer Space Museum. Head on over to the Gift Shop, and check out their amazing selection of merchandise. They have a wide variety of Gemstones, Various fossilized Teeth, Tee Shirts and more.
ROAD TO THE BARRINGER CRATER
The road heading into, and from the Barringer Meteor Crater is a fun little 6 mile drive from I-40. They have signs posted along the road with fun facts about the Meteor Crater. They measure the distance to the Meteor Crater along the side of the road road, as “Distance to Impact”.
You can also tune your Radio into AM 1610, as you drive the Crater Road to listen to information about the Crater, and the Barringer Space Museum. You drive right through the middle of a large Cattle Farm as you head to the crater. The cattle are free to roam the road… they most certainly own it! 🤣
More Road Trip Adventures
If you liked this Blog Post, and want to see some of the other locations I visited. You can check out what else I saw during my 5100 mile Solo Road Trip. By Clicking one of the two links included below.
The Roving Gypsy®
Thanks for reading my Travel Blog, I hope you enjoyed this walk back in time, along the Rim of the Barringer Meteor Crater as much as I did. Like what you read, & want more, or have a suggestion? Follow, Share, Comment, & let me know.