Canyon Diablo (meteorite)

Coordinates: 35°03′N 111°02′W / 35.050°N 111.033°W / 35.050; -111.033
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Canyon Diablo
Canyon Diablo iron meteorite fragment (IAB) 2,641 grams
Structural classificationCoarse Octahedrite
Composition7.1% Ni; 0.46% Co; 0.26% P; 1% C; 1% S; 80ppm Ga; 320ppm Ge; 1,9ppm Ir
CountryUnited States
RegionCoconino County, Arizona
Coordinates35°03′N 111°02′W / 35.050°N 111.033°W / 35.050; -111.033[1]
Observed fallNo
Fall date49000 years ago[2]
Found date1891
TKW30 tonnes
Strewn fieldYes
Etched slice showing a Widmanstätten pattern
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Canyon Diablo meteorite refers to the many fragments of the asteroid that created Meteor Crater (also called Barringer Crater),[3] 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 impactor fell about 50,000 years ago.[4] Initially known and used by pre-historic Native Americans, Canyon Diablo meteorites have been collected and studied by the scientific community since the 19th century. Meteor Crater, from the late 19th to the early 20th century, was the center of a long dispute over the origin of craters that showed little evidence of volcanism. That debate was largely settled by the early 1930s, thanks to work by Daniel M. Barringer, F.R. Moulton, Harvey Harlow Nininger, and Eugene Shoemaker.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

In 1953, Clair Cameron Patterson measured ratios of the lead isotopes in samples of the meteorite. Through U-Pb radiometric dating, a refined estimate of the age of the Earth was obtained: 4.550 billion years (± 70 million years).[12]

Composition and classification[edit]

This meteorite is an iron octahedrite (coarse 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. ^ "Barringer Crater". Oxford Reference. Oxford. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  4. ^ Roddy, D. J.; E. M. Shoemaker (1995). "Meteor Crater (Barringer Meteorite Crater), Arizona: summary of impact conditions". Meteoritics. 30 (5): 567. Bibcode:1995Metic..30Q.567R.
  5. ^ Barringer, D.M. (1906). "Coon Mountain and its Crater." Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 57:861–86. PDF
  6. ^ Moulton, F. R. (August 24, 1929). Report on the Meteor Crater – I. Philadelphia: Barringer Crater Company.
  7. ^ Moulton, F. R. (November 20, 1929). Report on the Meteor Crater – II. Philadelphia: Barringer Crater Company.
  8. ^ Crowson, Henry L. (1971). "A method for determining the residual meteoritical mass in the Barringer Meteor Crater". Pure and Applied Geophysics. 85 (1): 38–68. Bibcode:1971PApGe..85...38C. doi:10.1007/bf00875398. S2CID 140725009.
  9. ^ Artemieva N.; Pierazzo E (2010). "The Canyon Diablo impact event: Projectile motion through the atmosphere". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 44 (1): 25–42. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2009.tb00715.x.
  10. ^ Nininger, Harvey Harlow (1956). Arizona's Meteorite Crater. Sedona, Arizona: American Meteorite Laboratory. ISBN 978-0910096027.
  11. ^ Levy, David (2002). Shoemaker by Levy: The man who made an impact. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 69, 73–75, 81–83. ISBN 9780691113258.
  12. ^ Patterson, C. (1956). "Age of Meteorites and the Earth". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 10 (4): 230–237. Bibcode:1956GeCoA..10..230P. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(56)90036-9.
  13. ^ Canyon Diablo Meteorite; MET16, Canterbury Museum collection on eHive
  14. ^ Meteorite moves to Flag
  15. ^ Adirondack Sky Center Meteoroids
  16. ^ When Worlds Collide: Collaboration and Coincidence in a Mystery from the Skies
  17. ^ UCLA's new Meteorite Museum rocks Archived June 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Canyon Diablo meteorite at The Franklin Institute
  19. ^ Rummager's galactic find turns out to be stolen meteorite
  20. ^ Long-lost meteorite comes home to Arizona

External links[edit]