Earth and the Moon

Meteors and Meteorites

What is the largest known meteorite to strike Earth in the past 100,000 years?

About fifty thousand years ago, a metallic meteorite about one hundred feet across crashed into the Mogollon Rim area in modern-day Arizona. It disintegrated on impact, creating a hole in the desert nearly a mile across and nearly sixty stories deep. Meteor Crater (or the Barringer Meteor Crater, as it is more commonly known today) is a remarkable and lasting example of the amount of kinetic energy carried by celestial objects. Just the lip of the crater rises fifteen stories up above the desert floor. For a long time, scientists puzzled over the origin of this crater. It might have been volcanic in origin, they thought. But geological evidence, such as shallow metallic remnants in a huge radius miles around the crater, confirmed it was a meteorite strike.


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