Nevada Nature November 10, 2016
Most People Have No Idea This Massive Crater In The Middle Of Nowhere In Nevada Even Exists
This incredible place looks like something you’d find on the surface of the moon rather than right at home in Nevada! The lonely and desolate landscape and crater are an oddly compelling sight for visitors. Check it out:
The Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark is a 100-square-mile area found about 75 miles from Tonopah.
In 1973, the area was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. National Park Service. It is one of six existing National Natural Landmarks in Nevada.
To reach the crater, you must drive along an unpaved road for approximately 24 miles.
The entire volcanic field area contains several types of geologic formations such as cinder cones, lava flows and craters.
Cinder cones are actually small volcanoes and can be spotted by their cone shape (hence their name!) The lava flows are solidified from previous eruptions.
The biggest feature of the Landmark area is the Lunar Crater, which measures 4000 feet in diameter.
The crater extends to a depth of a little over 400 feet.
The crater was actually the site of trainings in the 1960s for the astronauts who eventually were a part of the Apollo missions to the moon.
Some might view the volcanic crater and field and think the crater is caused by an impact, such as by a meteor.
In fact, the crater was formed by volcanic eruptions that collapsed inward. The technical name for it is a "maar." These volcanic eruptions began almost 2 million years ago and the craters themselves began to form several thousand years ago.
You can hike into the crater and get a true sense of its size and scope once you're in it.
There are no fees to visit the landmark. You can camp and RV in the area but there are no facilities or water available so be prepared to bring your own water. Driving in with a high clearance car or truck is definitely recommended due to the road condition. You can visit year-round but the road may be impassable during wet or wintery weather. The area is usually accessed from US 6 driving from Tonopah.
Would you visit the Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark and hike down into it? Share in the comments!