Meteorite Crater

Meteor crater 400
Meteor Crater
Photo by: Shiny Things, Creative Commons

Meteor Crater was created about thousands of years ago by a meteorite impact. It is located near Winslow in the desert of northern Arizona. It is named “Meteor Crater” after the nearby post office, Meteor. The site used to be known as Diablo Canyon Crater, but the scientists call it Barringer Crater after Daniel Barringer, the one who first suggested that Meteor Crater was made by a meteorite impact.
At present, the crater is privately owned and maintained by the Barringer family through their Barringer Crater Company.

It is claimed as the “first proven and best preserved meteorite crater” here on Earth. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona and the United States. It can be reached via exit 233 or Meteor Crater Road off Interstate-40. There is an entrance fee to see the crater. A visitor center is on the northern rim of the crater, which is operated by the Meteor Crater Enterprises. They provide displays for visitors about the space program, a gift shop, and a small museum.

There is also a video for the visitors to watch about meteorite impacts. But of course the major attraction is to see the spectacular crater itself. It is very big that a football game can be played with more than 2 million fans watching.

Until now, the crater has been a focus of continuous scientific research. In the 1960s, NASA used it as a training ground for their astronauts for their mission to the moon. The Meteor Crater is recognized as a significant geological site. In November 1967, it was designated as a National Natural Landmark. However, it is not protected by the state as a national monument because this status requires federal ownership. The private owner provides people to patrol the area in uniforms resembling those in the National Park Service.

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