Santa Fe impact structure

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Santa Fe impact structure
Kluft-photo-Shatter cones-Sep-2008-Img 1711.jpg
Shatter cones at the side of Highway 475 in the Santa Fe impact structure
Impact crater/structure
Confidence confirmed[1]
Diameter 6 kilometres (3.7 mi)-13 kilometres (8.1 mi)
Age less than 1.2 billion years
Exposed no
Drilled no
Location Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Coordinates 35°45′N 105°56′W / 35.750°N 105.933°W / 35.750; -105.933Coordinates: 35°45′N 105°56′W / 35.750°N 105.933°W / 35.750; -105.933
Country United States
State New Mexico
District Santa Fe County
Santa Fe impact structure is located in New Mexico
Santa Fe impact structure
Santa Fe impact structure
Location of Santa Fe impact structure in New Mexico
Access SR475 northeast of Santa Fe

The Santa Fe impact structure is an eroded remnant of a bolide impact crater in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico.[1] The discovery was made in 2005 by a geologist who noticed shatter cones in the rocks in a decades-old road cut on New Mexico State Road 475 between Santa Fe and Hyde Memorial State Park. Shatter cones are a definitive indicator that the rocks had been exposed to a shock of pressures only possible in a meteor impact or a nuclear explosion.[2]

It is called an "impact structure" and not a crater because it is so deeply eroded. Current estimates place the age of the impact between 1.4 and 1.6 billion years. Only the crater's basement rocks remain on the surface in the mountains today. The estimated diameter of the structure is currently a subject of study. The shatter cones occur for about 1 mile (1.6 km) along the highway, which is interpreted to coincide with a central area within a crater of greater diameter.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b "Santa Fe". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2010-03-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ French, Bevan M. (1998). Traces of catastrophe. Lunar and Planetary Institute |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  3. ^ Fackelman, S.P.; T. H. McElvain; J. R. Morrow; C. Koeberl (2007). "Shatter Cone Exposures Indicate a New Bolide Impact Structure near Santa Fe, New Mexico" (PDF). Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII. Lunar and Planetary Institute. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ^ Tegtmeier, E. L.; H. E. Newsom; W. E. Elston; T. H. McElvain (2008). "Breccias and geological setting of the Santa Fe, New Mexico USA impact structure" (PDF). Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV. Lunar and Planetary Institute. Retrieved 2008-12-31.