Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Facts About Meteor Crater - strangefacts

  • Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater located approximately 43 miles (69 km) east of Flagstaff, near Winslow in the northern Arizona desert of the United States
  • Because the US Department of the Interior Division of Names commonly recognizes names of natural features derived from the nearest post office, the feature acquired the name of “Meteor Crater” from the nearby post office named Meteor
  • Middlesboro is the only city in the United States built within a meteor crater
  • The crater was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper
  • At the time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths, giant ground sloths, and camels
  • It was probably not inhabited by humans; the earliest confirmed record of human habitation in the Americas dates from long after this impact
  • The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second
  • Meteor Crater was originally thought to be a volcanic crater, since there were other volcanic craters, including the still-active Sunset Crater, in the region
  • However, in the 1890s, mineralogists discovered iron fragments in the crater. This led geologists to suggest that the crater was caused by a meteor crash
  • Daniel Barringer (1860-1929), a Philadelphia mining engineer who explored the site in 1903, was convinced the meteorite was buried beneath the crater. He purchased the land and, in 1906, began drilling
  • Barringer and his team discovered enough iron and nickel-iron fragments to persuade the scientific world that the crater was probably formed by a meteor
  • During the 1930s, around $400,000 was spent on drilling bores into the floor of the crater. Fragments of nickel-iron believed to have come from the meteorite were found at depths of 260m (700ft)
  • Below this, the rock was undisturbed
  • All attempts at finding the core intact below the crater have been abandoned. Scientists now believe the meteor exploded on impact, and that much of its material vaporized into the air
  • The millions of nickel-iron grains discovered at the site are thought to have condensed from a hot metallic cloud that resulted from the blast
  • In addition, individual nickel-iron fragments as heavy as 640kg (1,400lbs) have been found scattered over an area of (100 sq.mi)
  • In 1960, scientists discovered coesite and stishovite at the site. These two rare forms of silica can only be created when the temperature and pressure is very high
  • These conditions would have been created when a meteor crashed into sandstone desert. This was proof that the crater was formed by a meteor
  • Meteora, on the western edge of the plain of Thessaly, in the heart of northern Greece, is the home a group of monasteries and chapels that are perched on 24 enormous rocks
  • The rocks are made of a mixture of sandstone and a type of hard, sedimentary gravel known as conglomerate
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