Barringer Meteor Crater

February 21, 2006


Provided and copyright by: Thomas McGuire
Summary author: Thomas McGuire

When explorers of European descent discovered Barringer Meteor Crater, it was interpreted as a volcanic feature similar to Ubehebe hydrovolcanic (explosive steam) crater at the north end of Death Valley, California. But the crater was subsequently shown to be one of the world’s most dramatic impact structures. Several mining operations tried to find the iron-rich meteor mass, but none have succeeded, probably because the bolide shattered upon impact. However, many metallic fragments have been found on the nearby landscape.

On this image, Interstate 40 leads 70 km (40 miles) to the west toward Flagstaff and the San Francisco volcanic field. The highest peaks are a part of a breached volcanic crater. Mt. Humphries, reaches (3,850 meters (12,630 feet.), the highest point in Arizona, and an important landmark for the Navajo people. Also note the entrenched meanders of Canyon Diablo just west of the crater. The lack of snow on the on this January day is an indication of the current drought conditions. But the lakes that supply part of Flagstaff’s municipal water do show open water on the left. Note the change in vegetation from barren high desert to juniper and then ponderosa pine forests, signifying the influence of topography on precipitation.

Photo taken on January 10, 2006 on a flight from Phoenix to Denver; using an 8 MP Konica-Minolta A2 camera.

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