Canyon Diablo (meteorite)

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Canyon Diablo
Canyon Diablo iron meteorite fragment (IAB) 2,641 grams. Note colorful natural desert patina.
Type Iron
Structural classification Coarse Octahedrite
Group IAB-MG
Composition 7.1% Ni; 0.46% Co; 0.26% P; 1% C; 1% S; 80ppm Ga; 320ppm Ge; 1,9ppm Ir
Country United States
Region Coconino County, Arizona
Coordinates 35°03′N 111°02′W / 35.050°N 111.033°W / 35.050; -111.033Coordinates: 35°03′N 111°02′W / 35.050°N 111.033°W / 35.050; -111.033[1]
Observed fall No
Fall date 49000 years ago[2]
Found date 1891
TKW 30 tonnes
Strewn field Yes
Canyon Diablo meteorite, pattern.jpg
Etched slice showing a Widmanstätten_pattern
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Canyon Diablo meteorites include the many fragments of the asteroid that created Barringer Crater (Meteor Crater), Arizona, United States. Meteorites have been found around the crater rim, and are named for nearby Canyon Diablo, which lies about three to four miles west of the crater.


The asteroid fell about 50,000 years ago.[3] The meteorites have been known and collected since the mid-19th century and were known and used by pre-historic Native Americans. The Barringer Crater, from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, was the center of a long dispute over the origin of craters that showed little evidence of volcanism. That debate was settled in 1960, thanks to Eugene Shoemaker's study of the crater.[4]

In 1953, Clair Cameron Patterson measured ratios of the lead isotopes in samples of the meteorite. The result permitted a refinement of the estimate of the age of the Earth to 4.550 billion years (± 70 million years).[5]

Composition and classification[edit]

This meteorite is an iron octahedrite. Minerals reported from the meteorite include:

Samples may contain troilite-graphite nodules with metal veins and small diamonds.


"Holsinger Meteorite", the biggest recovered fragment of the Canyon Diablo meteorite
Example of a small (90mm) fragment of the meteorite

The biggest fragment ever found is the Holsinger Meteorite, weighing 639 kilograms (1,409 lb), now on display in the Meteor Crater Visitor Center on the rim of the crater. Other famous fragments:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meteoritical Bulletin Database: Canyon Diablo
  2. ^ Spaceguard Foundation UK Archived 2006-11-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Roddy, D. J.; E. M. Shoemaker (1995). "Meteor Crater (Barringer Meteorite Crater), Arizona: summary of impact conditions". Meteoritics. 30 (5): 567. 
  4. ^ Levy, David (2002). Shoemaker by Levy: The man who made an impact. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 69,73–75,81–83. ISBN 9780691113258. 
  5. ^ Patterson, C. (1956). "Age of Meteorites and the Earth". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 10: 230–237. Bibcode:1956GeCoA..10..230P. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(56)90036-9. 
  6. ^ Canyon Diablo Meteorite; MET16, Canterbury Museum collection on eHive
  7. ^ Meteorite moves to Flag
  8. ^ UCLA's new Meteorite Museum rocks Archived June 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Canyon Diablo meteorite at The Franklin Institute
  10. ^ Rummager's galactic find turns out to be stolen meteorite
  11. ^ Long-lost meteorite comes home to Arizona

External links[edit]