The scientific tourist #4 — what you *can* tell from a hole in the ground

Quite a bit, actually, if you pick the right hole…

Barringer Panorama

This week’s “sciencey” tourism picture is from Barringer Crater (a.k.a., Meteor Crater) in Arizona, about 56 km (35 miles) east of Flagstaff. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and has a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. The crater was created about 50,000 years ago by the impact of a meteor roughly 50 meters in diameter — producing an explosion equivalent to at least 2.5 megatons of TNT, about 150 times the yield of the atomic bombs used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Aside from its pure visual interest (if you look closely at the photograph, you’ll see a causeway you can use to walk into the crater), Barringer Crater holds an interesting place in the history of geology. It was the first feature on Earth to be definitively shown to be the result of an impact of a meteor — although the proof of this was nearly a century in the making.

Click on the above picture to get to the Flickr version of this image — it’ll give you lots of options for resizing and otherwise manipulating the source photo. Meanwhile, you can expect a podcast on the crater’s history in the not-too-distant future…

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One Response to The scientific tourist #4 — what you *can* tell from a hole in the ground

  1. Pingback: Sorting Out Science » Blog Archive » Episode 17 — A Tale of Two Craters, and a Shoemaker

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