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Arizona Meteorite Crater Mystery Solved
AP via Yahoo ^ | 3/9/05

Posted on 03/09/2005 10:19:19 AM PST by ZGuy

It's a mystery that has puzzled scientists for years but researchers said Wednesday they have discovered why there isn't much melted rock at the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona.

An iron meteorite traveling up to 12 miles per second was thought to have blasted out the huge hole measuring three-quarters of a mile across in the desert.

The impact of an object at that speed should have left large volumes of melted rock at the site. But British and American scientists said the reason it didn't was because the meteorite was traveling slower than previously estimated.

"We conclude that the fragmented iron projectile probably struck the surface at a velocity of about 12 km (7.5 miles) (per second)," said Professor H. Jay Melosh, of the University of Arizona, in a report in the science journal Nature.

Meteor Crater, which was formed about 50,000 years ago, was the first terrestrial crater identified as a meteorite impact scar.

Melosh and Gareth Collins, of Imperial College London, used a simple model to calculate the speed on impact. They showed the meteorite had slowed when it hit the Earth's atmosphere and broke into fragments before it struck the Earth.

They calculated the impact velocity was about 26,800 miles per hour.

"Even though iron is very strong, the meteorite had probably been cracked from collisions in space," Melosh said in a statement.

"The weakened pieces began to come apart and shower down from about 8.5 miles high. As they came apart, atmospheric drag slowed them down, increasing the forces that crushed them so that they crumbled and slowed more," he added.

The scientists said that at about 3 miles altitude, most of the meteorite was spread in a large cloud.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: archaeology; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; theskyisfalling
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1 posted on 03/09/2005 10:19:20 AM PST by ZGuy
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To: ZGuy

It's pretty much in the middle of no where, but if you can get to see it, it's quite something.


2 posted on 03/09/2005 10:23:15 AM PST by ProudVet77 (It's boogitty boogitty boogitty time!)
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To: ProudVet77

You can look off to the south from the major highway going by it, and see a bowl shaped 'mountain' off in the distance. I've driven the way several times, quite amazing.

Only went over to look into it once. Awesome crater.


3 posted on 03/09/2005 10:24:31 AM PST by G32
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To: ProudVet77
Big hole in the ground........


4 posted on 03/09/2005 10:26:11 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: ZGuy
It was President Bush's fault, you know.

He ran the earth right into that asteroid.

5 posted on 03/09/2005 10:26:32 AM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: G32
Set Google to "Images" and type in Meteor Crater. Lots of pics...


6 posted on 03/09/2005 10:27:30 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: ProudVet77
It's pretty much in the middle of no where, but if you can get to see it, it's quite something.

Sorry, but even at 7.5 miles/second, it came and went in the blink of an eye. And it was before my time.

7 posted on 03/09/2005 10:27:50 AM PST by steve86
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To: OXENinFLA

View from 27,000 feet.

8 posted on 03/09/2005 10:28:07 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: Just another Joe

LOL!


9 posted on 03/09/2005 10:28:44 AM PST by beltfed308
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To: ZGuy

I get my kicks on Route 66. I thought the mystery was the old "Spanish Mission" building along old Route 66 (current I-44, iirc) about a mile north of the crater.

Seems some conman ran a gas station from the "Spanish Mission". He had an observation tower about 25' high, from which he claimed you could see into the crater. (You couldn't). Since the human capacity for self deception is almost unlimited, most people managed to convince themselves that they had "seen the crater" and went on.

If the mark complained, he would tell them to take their ticket to the privately run (and for profit) meteor museum and they could look from there. Of course the museum did not honor his tickets, again many folks would chalk it up to experience and move on. If they returned and demanded a refund, he would grant it, out nothing but the cost of a cheap ticket.


10 posted on 03/09/2005 10:29:40 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Deadcheck the embeds first.)
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To: ProudVet77
It's pretty much in the middle of no where, but if you can get to see it, it's quite something.

Agreed. Only went to it once, thirty-odd years back, but the impression it left in my mind is still fresh.

But then. most of Arizona (that I've seen, anyway) is pretty amazing.

11 posted on 03/09/2005 10:30:17 AM PST by Dunstan McShane
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To: G32

Location?


12 posted on 03/09/2005 10:31:34 AM PST by ctdonath2
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To: ZGuy
"We conclude that the fragmented iron projectile probably struck the surface at a velocity of about 12 km (7.5 miles) (per second)," said Professor H. Jay Melosh, of the University of Arizona, in a report in the science journal Nature.

Now at least I can finally get some sleep.

13 posted on 03/09/2005 10:32:18 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Just another Joe
"It was President Bush's fault, you know."

Liberals would have put the earth in a lock box to protect it.

14 posted on 03/09/2005 10:32:40 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: ZGuy

What makes them think it was 50,000 years ago?


15 posted on 03/09/2005 10:33:40 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: ZGuy
If this theory is correct, wouldn't we find smaller impact sites from the pieces which broke up and would have different points of impact along the same trajectory?

And are there any?

Before or after the main impact site? Any astrophysicist(s) out there that can enighten me?

16 posted on 03/09/2005 10:34:04 AM PST by nonsporting
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To: ProudVet77

I actually have to say I was pretty dissappointed to pay the rather high admission price and see little more than an unimpressive hole in the ground. The idea of seeing where a meteor struck the Earth is more exciting that the actual thing. Perhaps because I'd been at the Grand Canyon (for free) the previous day, this thing didn't seem worth the detour off the freeway. If you've seen the pictures above in this thread, you've pretty much seen all you need to see.


17 posted on 03/09/2005 10:34:39 AM PST by nyg4168
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To: ZGuy
"""The scientists said that at about 3 miles altitude, most of the meteorite was spread in a large cloud."""

Okay. I'm a bit slow.

If what they say in this sentence is the case.....why is there a hole? That is deeper in the middle...?

The cloud made the hole, I suppose..........? Just asking...

18 posted on 03/09/2005 10:35:51 AM PST by LadyPilgrim (Sealed my Pardon with HIS BLOOD!!! Hallelujah!!! What a Saviour)
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To: DannyTN
What makes them think it was 50,000 years ago?

Geochronological indicators.
19 posted on 03/09/2005 10:36:32 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: ProudVet77
It's pretty much in the middle of no where, but if you can get to see it, it's quite something.

It's not far from Flagstaff, where you can visit the Lowell Observatory (they have public tours), a couple of hours from the ever-popular south rim of the Grand Canyon, and not far from Sedona and many interesting Indian ruins (Montezuma's Well, Montezuma's Castle). GREAT vacation spot, if you can't make it to New England.

20 posted on 03/09/2005 10:37:40 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Deadcheck the embeds first.)
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To: Hatteras

Sure that's not Amboy Crater in CA?


21 posted on 03/09/2005 10:37:51 AM PST by Chaguito
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To: ProudVet77
We took our two younger kids out to Arizona in late May of 2000. Meteor Crater was a favorite trip; our younger son was 9 at the time and really into meteorites, space, etc. Our kids were the only youngsters in the group, and the Guide was particularly nice to our son, letting him be his 'helper' for the tour. He even let our son answer a couple of the other folks' questions!

It truly is an impressive sight.

22 posted on 03/09/2005 10:38:43 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: ctdonath2

Near Winslow, AZ I believe.


23 posted on 03/09/2005 10:38:48 AM PST by G32
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To: SpaceBar
"Geochronological indicators."

Which ones?

24 posted on 03/09/2005 10:39:12 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: PatrickHenry

A "Craterism" ping.


25 posted on 03/09/2005 10:40:45 AM PST by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: DannyTN
Which ones?

The ones appropriate for dating terrestrial astroblemes of course.
26 posted on 03/09/2005 10:41:02 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: ctdonath2

Map Quest "Meteor Crater, AZ"

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?searchtype=address&country=US&addtohistory=&searchtab=home&address=&city=meteor+Crater+&state=az&zipcode=


27 posted on 03/09/2005 10:41:17 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Deadcheck the embeds first.)
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To: Hatteras

Uh, that's not Meteor crater... it's a cinder cone (volcanic). Don't know where. From a distance, Meteor crater has a much lower, more subtle topographic profile.


28 posted on 03/09/2005 10:41:17 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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To: ProudVet77
The amazing thing is that the meteorite was only 150 feet long!

Pajama Patrol Badges & Pins!

29 posted on 03/09/2005 10:41:42 AM PST by Seeking the truth (0cents.com - Pajama Patrol Badges are here!)
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To: ZGuy

I think it one of the natural wonders, a geological "must see". Definitely worth a half day side trip when seeing the Grand Canyon.


30 posted on 03/09/2005 10:41:51 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: DannyTN

Look it up. You know what Google is.


31 posted on 03/09/2005 10:42:21 AM PST by ThinkPlease (Fortune Favors the Bold!)
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To: DannyTN
What makes them think it was 50,000 years ago?

It's a matter of faith.

Good luck getting them to admit it, though.

32 posted on 03/09/2005 10:44:07 AM PST by newgeezer (Just my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary.)
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To: Chaguito

The site I pulled the pic from identifies it as Meteor Crater in Arizona. I've never been there so I'm just taking him at his word. It does look a little tall and not as wide in that shot compared to the others though...


33 posted on 03/09/2005 10:44:47 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras
Here's a picture of the real Meteor crater at a distance...


34 posted on 03/09/2005 10:45:35 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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To: LadyPilgrim

My thoughts too, if it was mostly vaporized (in cloud form) then why is there a big 'ol hole in the ground? and the article did not really explain what happened to the iron either, seems like they would have found more.....


35 posted on 03/09/2005 10:46:26 AM PST by enraged (The "Bush's fault" joke never was funny and is getting really old)
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To: ThinkPlease
"Look it up. You know what Google is. "

I already know what most of the "geochronical indicators" are. I want to know which ones they relied on in this case.

They never tell you in the popular press, they always leave that out.

36 posted on 03/09/2005 10:48:49 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: SuziQ

Another extremely interesting feature your son might get into is called Upheaval Dome in Arches National Park, Utah. It is a large circular anomaly that for a century was thought to be the surface expression of a salt diapir (a large blob of salt that migrates upward due to bouyancy). A few years ago grad student reexamined it and determined it to be a meteor impact feature. It is easy to get to, and their is a nearby topographic high so you can get a good view of the thing.


37 posted on 03/09/2005 10:50:12 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: DannyTN
What makes them think it was 50,000 years ago?

It was wearing a Timex. It didn't stop ticking.

Shalom.

38 posted on 03/09/2005 10:50:18 AM PST by ArGee (Why do we let queers tell us what's normal?)
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To: Chaguito

That's Amboy Crater. We used to ride dirtbikes out there back in the 60's and 70's. Had my first tangle with a rattlesnake within view of that crater.


39 posted on 03/09/2005 10:51:56 AM PST by P8riot (Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.)
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To: ZGuy

>>The scientists said that at about 3 miles altitude, most of the meteorite was spread in a large cloud.<<

So it was a shotgun blast?


40 posted on 03/09/2005 10:54:02 AM PST by RobRoy (Child support and maintenence (alimony) are what we used to call indentured slavery)
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To: newgeezer
It's a matter of faith.

It's a matter of some fairly complex, but well tried and tested, chemical and radiological techniques.

Your average mainstream media science article isn't going to take about 10 pages filled with chemical formulas explaining how rocks and fossils are dated EVERY single time they mention some date from a scientist that annoys some idiotic Young Earth Creationist because it's older than 6,000 years.

In terms of the popular press probably the most extensive and understandable explanation of dating of rock is in the "Crossing the Craton" section of John McPhee's "Annals of the Former World."

41 posted on 03/09/2005 10:54:04 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: G32

And while you're there (Winslow), you can stay at the very nicely restored La Posada, a hotel left over from the great coast to coast railroad days. Designed by Mary Jane Coulter (no photos needed of that Coulter).

The trestle bridge over Diablo canyon is close and worth a side trip as well.


42 posted on 03/09/2005 10:55:53 AM PST by dmz
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To: Just another Joe

Yep, he musta been driving drunk and on his way to buy cocaine while he was AWOL from the TNG. Yep, that's it.


43 posted on 03/09/2005 10:56:27 AM PST by AggieCPA (Howdy, Ags!)
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To: DannyTN
What makes them think it was 50,000 years ago?

The suspicion that the crater is only 50,000 years old, giver or take about 3,000 years, comes from the fact that it is not terribly weathered. Anything over 100,000 years would be much more worn down or even obliterated.

Fortunately, the climate is fairly dry in that area, so the weathering influence comes mainly from the action of wind and sand, and not so much from rain, which can do much more damage to such a site.

In short, the age determination is rough, and more a process of elimination: no more than 100,000 years, and no less than 20,000 (and certainly more than 6,000 years) based on the amount of weathering and the amount of debris buildup in the bottom of the crater.

Hope this helps.

44 posted on 03/09/2005 10:58:05 AM PST by SlowBoat407 (Bekaa to the future!)
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To: OXENinFLA

So this crater is formed by multiple meteorites, huh? Would you scientists like to try again?

45 posted on 03/09/2005 10:58:23 AM PST by sr4402
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To: DannyTN
Can you see the contents of this URL?

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V66-48C8KYS-1FD&_user=99318&_handle=V-WA-A-W-BW-MsSAYWW-UUA-U-AAAWEDEECA-AAAUCZUDCA-EDADEWDZV-BW-U&_fmt=summary&_coverDate=09%2F30%2F1991&_rdoc=26&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%235806%231991%23999449990%23418848!&_cdi=5806&view=c&_acct=C000007678&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=99318&md5=aedd70e4125104f8c9860f3f12b29090

46 posted on 03/09/2005 11:00:27 AM PST by ThinkPlease (Fortune Favors the Bold!)
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To: enraged

Studies like this are so pitifully stupid!

Sometimes there are no explanations for phenomenom like this.

Man, (the species) in general wants to say they understand everything in the world.

Somehow........it's just not that important.

Tax dollars are used for this group, I would imagine.(rolling my eyes)


47 posted on 03/09/2005 11:00:56 AM PST by LadyPilgrim (Sealed my Pardon with HIS BLOOD!!! Hallelujah!!! What a Saviour)
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To: sr4402

Article wasn't that clear and I think people are misunderstanding what was said.

It wasn't a wide scattering of multiple meteorites...what they're saying is it wasn't a coherent big block when it hit; it was a grouping of pieces that were all right next to each other.


48 posted on 03/09/2005 11:01:21 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Good thing it is in the middle of nowhere. It would have been disastrous if it hit a city or something.


Yes, I am kidding.


49 posted on 03/09/2005 11:01:39 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: ZGuy

Regardless of theories, the meteor strike blasted rock and bits of itself (nickle-iron) for miles. Owners of surrounding ranches still find pieces which they sell to rock shops. My sample weighs several ounces.


50 posted on 03/09/2005 11:02:07 AM PST by TexasRepublic (BALLISTIC CATHARSIS: perforating uncooperative objects with chunks of lead)
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