Meteor Crater Ejecta Blanket

September 09, 2002

Meteorcraterejecta copy

Provided by: Tim Martin, Greensboro Day School
Summary authors & editors: Tim Martin

Located about 5 miles (8 km) south of Interstate 40 near Winslow, AZ, Meteor Crater is one of the world’s best-preserved meteor impact sites. Approximately 50,000 years ago, the iron-nickel core of an asteroid impacted Earth. Traveling at a speed near 30,000 mph (48,000 km/hr), the 150 ft (46 m) diameter rock disintegrated on impact with the explosive force of nearly 20 Megatons of TNT (10^17 Joules). The crater created on impact was close to 700 ft (213 m) deep and over 4000 ft (1220 m) in diameter. Over 175 million tons (159 billion kg) of limestone and sandstone were excavated and thrown out of the crater at distances close to 1 mile (1600 m).

This image taken from approximately 3 (4.8 km) miles north of the crater shows the ejecta blanket or material that was ejected from the crater during impact. Eroded over the last 50 millennia, the rim of the ejecta still stands 150 feet (46 m) above the surrounding plain.

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