The Meteor Crater in the American state of Arizona was created by a small asteroid about 50,000 years ago in Colorado Plateau. It is situated almost 70 km in the east of Flagstaff, near Winslow in the northern Arizona desert of the United States of America. Formerly known as the Canyon Diablo Crater, this wondrous site was named after Daniel Barringer as Barringer Crater who firstly explained that the site had the meteor impact. Now the crater is privately owned by Daniel Barringer’s family.
Although it remained controversial for many years among the scientists to believe that there was any impact crater on earth but now this crater is the best preserved crater on Earth and measures 1.2 km in diameter. Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m above sea level. It was declared as a National Natural Landmark in November 1967 by the United States.
A meteorite is understood as any space inhabitant solid mass that reaches the Earth’s surface and is generally reserved for the larger particles that reach the Earth’s surface. Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater. Scientists believe in three types of craters, simple, complex and multi-ringed. The Meteor Crater of Arizona falls in the simple category. The size of the crater is related to the size and the speed and angle of impact of a meteorite.
At the time of its discovery, the area around the crater was found with scattered chunks of meteoritic iron in 8 to 10 miles in diameter. At the time of the impact, the area was open grassland and not inhabited by humans. According to the recent research the meteor struck at a speed of 12.8 kilometers per second and almost half of the meteorite’s 300,000 metric tons bulk was vaporized during its descent, before it hit the ground. The meteorite itself was evaporated and only few particles of the meteorite were observed.
Nowadays the Meteor Crater of Arizona has become an international tourist spot with outdoor observation trails; air conditioned indoor viewing, wide screen Movie Theater, interactive discovery center and Astronaut Memorial Park at the modern Visitor Center located on the crater rim.