On our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico as we head out of Kingman, Arizona on our second day of our Southwest road trip, my husband planned a surprise quick stop at Meteor Crater that had me extra delighted. I did’t even realize where we were until my husband mentioned a meteor! I was geeking out to say the least!
About 50,000 years ago, an asteroid travelling 26,000 miles per hour, collided with our planet Earth. That massive impact left a crater measuring nearly a mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. Although discovered in 1891, the debates surrounding the origin of the crater in its initial discovery was only put to rest when in 1960, presence of coesite and stishovite were found around the pit, which are rare forms of silica formed by severe shock or a massive impact. That discovery thereby confirmed that the crater was formed by a meteor impact, and not from a volcanic explosion as was previously thought.
The entrance to Meteor Crater is NOT free. However, it is worth every penny. While the crater has lost some meters of its original rim due to the natural process of erosion, Meteor Crater is still considered to be the most preserved meteor crater in the world owing it to the dry Arizona climate. There are guided 15-minute rim tours available for those who are interested. But I was feeling cold, and my husband and I were simply contented to experience Meteor Crater on their self-guided observation decks placed strategically on the rim of the crater, just at the back of the visitor center. There were interpretative signs and observation telescopes for a closer look. At the base of the crater is an old mine shaft with leftover artifacts from exploration of minerals because it was initially thought that the meteor would have left chunks of precious metals and minerals waiting to be mined. From what I remember, the mining was futile.
The full extent of the impact of the meteor crater is when you realize that four Statue of Liberty can be stacked on top of each other in this crater, twenty football fields could be put on its floor and more than 2 million fans could watch games from the crater walls.
Meteor Crater is also called the Barringer Meteorite Crater, Coon Butte, Arizona Meteor Crater, or interestingly, the Canyon Diablo. Meteor Crater is located off I-40 at exit 233, Meteor Crater Road, then 6 miles south on the paved road. 35 miles east of Flagstaff, 20 miles west of Winslow, in Arizona
TRAVERSING ROUTE 66
Another thing that has made this trip extra memorable is the idea that during most of this trip, we have been paralleling and sometimes, actually traversing on the Historic ROUTE 66! The nostalgia of Route of 66 is reflected in a lot of hotels, restaurants and scenic stops in the area. I am not going to lie, the Disney Pixar movie, Cars, was in my thoughts almost the entire time. And just like in the movie, Route 66 was never the same and was and is struggling to survive after the Interstate Highway System was introduced.
Lessons learned from Meteor Crater and the Historic Route 66: TIME, CONTINUITY, and CHANGE.