Crater Facts

The Barringer Meteorite Crater, also known as “Meteor Crater”, is a huge hole in the middle of the desert outside Flagstaff, Arizona.

How big is the crater?

The crater is about 1 mile wide and 570 ft deep.

How was the crater created?

About 50,000 years ago, a meteorite traveling about 20 km/s smashed into the Arizona desert. The explosion was equal to 2.5 megatons of TNT!

How do we know a meteorite created the crater?

Over the years, geologists and other scientists have identified a number of pieces of evidence pointing to a meteoritic impact. These include overturned rock layers around the crater, rocks that have been deformed by extreme temperature and pressure, and specific minerals created by meteoritic impacts.

What was the meteorite made out of?

The meteorite was made of nickel-iron and is estimated to have been about 45 meters (150 ft) across, weighing about 270,000 metric tons (300,000 tons).

Where is the meteorite now?

Scientists now believe that most of the meteorite vaporized on impact. Small meteoritic fragments have been found scattered around the crater.

Find out more about the crater in our Science Education section!