Arizona November 05, 2016
The World’s Largest Meteor Crater Is Right Here In Arizona And It’s Truly Remarkable
Think you’re going to be standing on the corner in Winslow sometime in the near future? There’s actually quite a few things to do in the area if you know where to look. One example: sitting less than 30 minutes away from the town (or 45 minutes from Flagstaff), Arizona’s Meteor Crater is one impressive sight and worth a visit if you like space and history.
1. Also known as Barringer Crater and previously as Canyon Diablo Crater, this crater is one of the largest in the world.
I bet we got you with that headline, right? Meteor Crater is approximately 1.2 kilometers in diameter and 540 feet deep, making it fairly large but not quite the size as a crater like
Zhamanshin in Kazakstan
, which measures 14 kilometers in diameter. However, considering the condition of the crater it could still be considered the largest.
2. The crater, however, is widely considered to be the best preserved in the world.
Thanks to Arizona's naturally dry climate, there has been relatively little erosion to occur in the crater, making it perfect for scientific study and for visiting a one-of-a-kind place.
3. Meteor Crater is about 50,000-years-old.
That was during a time when giant sloths and woolly mammoths roamed the cool grasslands that once covered the area. What do you think it must have been like to see the meteor strike?
4. The meteorite itself was about 150 feet in length and the largest fragment from it is currently on display in the attraction's museum.
Composed of nickle and iron, a majority of the meteorite vaporized after impact. What's left is still impressive, especially when you consider how large the crater is.
5. The first European settlers assumed the crater's origins had something to do with volcanoes but later determined it was formed by a meteorite.
After some scientific studies in the late 19th-century, businessman Daniel Barringer bought the land intending to extract whatever iron ore was leftover from the ancient impact. He was sorely disappointed to find little of any valuable ore. If you are able to walk down to the impact site or just look through some great binoculars, you'll be able to spot the old mine shaft.
6. Currently, the Barringer family still owns the property and has transformed it into a tourist attraction.
Meteor Crater became especially popular after the opening of Route 66. This led to creating a commercial enterprise of the crater complete with a museum, overnight accommodations, gas station, and restaurant. At one point, it led to the creation of other nearby attractions related to the crater but these were short lived.
7. When you visit, don't just walk up to get a quick peek then leave! Take your time.
The best part of finding and learning about new places is to spend time there. Be sure to walk through the on-site museum to learn more details about the history of the crater. You can also take an easy hike around the perimeter of the crater, where you can see the results of the impact for yourself and even some old ruins standing nearby to get a sense of the human history here.
Meteor Crater is located about 26 miles west of Winslow, just off the old Route 66. Driving directions from Winslow can be found on
this link via Google Maps. Details for your visit can be found on their website, meteorcrater.com.
As you can hopefully see, this spot is more than just a hole in the ground. To see more unique Arizona attractions, be sure to read up on some less visited spots in
12 Places In Arizona That Are Off The Beaten Path But Well Worth The Trip.