Weather in Space

Meteors, Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets

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

About 50,000 years ago, a metallic meteorite about 100 feet (30 meters) 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 60 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 15 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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