Talk:Meteor Crater

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Discussion without Headers[edit]

Wouldn't this article be better located at Meteor Crater as the most common name, per the Wikipedia:Naming conventions?

Consider google's results.

  • "Barringer Crater": 5,330
  • "Meteor Crater": 56,900

Now, some references to "meteor crater" may be generic, but even if we include the location:

  • "Meteor Crater" and Arizona: 36,400

So clearly, "Meteor Crater" is many times more popular, and I think Barringer Crater should be the redirect. What do you think?--Pharos 02:02, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Note: According to the United States Geological Website, and the Bureau of Geographica; Nomenclature page found at the USGS website, the offical name for the Crater has been since 1946, "METEOR CRATER" not Barringer Crater. It has never been officially named Barringer Crater, since it recieved its name of Meteor Crater, back in 1907 when Herman L. Fairchild a geologist at the University of Rochester, New York gave it that name. HIs reasoning was simple. If we name meteorites after the nearest Post Office or a geographical feature, than why not name craters using the same convention, and he proceeded to do just that. It was picked upo a year later by George Perkins Merrill of the United States National Museum, today part of the Smithsonian complex, where he also used the name Meteor Crater. It was made officialin 1946 by the Bureau of Geographical Nomenclature. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:20, 9 August 2012

Hmmm, I'm not sure, for two reasons:
  • 1) "Barringer Crater" is the crater's official name, and I'm not sure if the naming conventions refer specifically to the proper names of locations. It's true, however, that were this a person's name we'd go by the most common reference.
  • But 2) I'd be worried about making this the main site of an article entitled "Meteor crater." According to Wikipedia:Naming_conventions#Be_precise_when_necessary, we shouldn't "write or put an article on a page with an ambiguously-named title as though that title had no other meanings." For the moment there is no article on "meteor crater," but clearly this is not only the name of a specific site, but also a general term for a hole in the ground caused by a crater. By putting this article in the one with the more general term, we'd be effectively blocking out that page, and preventing the creation of a more general article.
I'd go for the specificity argument over the common name one personally, though I can also see reasons for changing the title. -- Asbestos 17:45, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'm undecided on this. Prior to this article, I had only heard this crater referred to as Meteor Crater, never as Barringer Crater. However, I'm just an amateur; I have no formal education in geology or astronomy. Meteor Crater is a well-established name for this crater, though. Furthermore, I do not think that Meteor Crater could be used as a generic name, as it is technically a misnomer—any crater produced in such a manner should be called a meteorite crater. So I don't think we have to worry about; however, for the same reason, Barringer Crater probably is a better name.—Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 01:24, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

If "Meteor Crater" is so ambiguous and vague, then how is it that in an encyclopedia of a half-million articles, it seems to work perfectly fine as a redirect to "Barringer Crater"? When something is a redir instead of a disambig page, that's a pretty strong hint that nobody is confused about where the redirecting name should go. "Meteor Crater" will be perfectly fine as a name - "Barringer Crater" is OK, but a little on the pedantic side. Stan 05:43, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Meteor Crater", capitalized, refers to this specific impact crater. Only "meteor crater", uncapitalized, is generic and the (quite rightly) redirects to impact crater. As to "formal names", Wikipedia, is not intended primarily for professional astronomers etc. but for the lay reader, who is much more likely to be familiar with "Meteor Crater".--Pharos 1 July 2005 22:51 (UTC)

I was very confused when I came across this article and saw that it was called "meteor crater." Shouldn't it be called by its actual name? (talk) 18:28, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Already at the time the above enquiry was posted, the origin of the name was explained in the introduction section of the article, in the second sentence of the first paragraph, so the user was obviously inattentive. There's only so much we can do to serve the reader; I don't see how the information could be made more prominent for the convenience of the reader. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 09:33, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Indigenous Name?[edit]

What did the first Americans call the Meteor Crater? Two different guides at the Visitor's Center told me they didn't have a name for it, but that's just not possible.--Hugh7 (talk) 05:52, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

New Nature Article[edit]

Someone who knows a lot about physics and/or the crater should go through and make sure that all the information is correct in light of the new analysis from Nature. Dave 00:10, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

Use of definite article[edit]

Hi Pharos—you wanted the article to start with "Barringer Crater is a famous impact crater..." instead of "The Barringer Crater is a famous impact crater...", and suggested I look at other crater names. A brief glance at the articles on famous craters finds that most of them start the way I suggested:

Indeed, this is a style employed when talking about the majority of geological formations:

...and so on so forth.

Also note that the Barringer Crater website, starts their article with "The Barringer Meteorite Crater is a gigantic hole...". The point isn't whether its name is "Barringer Crater" or "The Barringer Crater", obviously it's the former, but when discussing the Crater and starting an article on it, as in the case of the hundreds of articles on similar subjects in this project, you generally start with "The Barringer Crater".—Asbestos | Talk 13:51, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I have taught SAT and TOEFL for 6 years. There is no difference between "The Barringer Crater..." and "Barringer Crater..." except that "the" can emphasize the uniqueness of the proper noun, e.g. "The Empire State Building..." is standard usage probably b/c nobody ever calls it "Empire State Building." Generally speaking, if an article is called for, you must use "the" in this case (unique proper noun). Dudeman1st (talk) 17:50, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Size of meteorite, explosive power, and debris from impact[edit]

After reading about Ivy Mike, I'm a little confused why a 10.4 megaton explosion would eject 80,000,000 tons of soil while this much smaller explosion (2.5 megatons according to the article) "dug out 175 million tons of rock."

Also the size of the explosion seems like it might be off. The crater left by Ivy Mike is 1.6km in diameter and 50m deep; and similarly Tswaing crater is [1km in diameter, 100m deep], and also [estimated at 10 megatons]. Proportionally speaking, shouldn't Barringer Crater also register in the ballpark of 10 megatons? I'm having a hard time believing it was only 2.5 megatons with a radius of 1.2km's and a depth of 170m.

Tswaing Crater: 1.1km 100m ~10megatons Ivy mike: 1.6km 50m 10.2megatons Meteor Crater: 1,200m 170m 2.5-6.5 megaton

The math currently works out to about 4 megatons for Meteor crater, because the Nature team downed the velocity from 16 km/s to 12.8 km/s and severely reduced the size of the meteorite.


For a roughly spherical object: 4/3 * pi * Density * Radius^3 = Mass

So, 4/3 * pi * 3 {tonnes / m^3} * 25{m}^3 = 196,349 tonnes

Kinetic Energy = (Mass * Velocity^2)/2

So, (196,349 {tonnes} * 12,800 {m/sec}^2) / 2 = 1.608 * 10^13 {tonnes*(m/sec)^2} or 10^13 joules.

and since, 1 kilogram of TNT releases 10^8/25 = 4 * 10^6 Joules of energy

(1.608 * 10^13 joules) / (4 * 10^6 joules) = ~4 megatons

I just find this to be terribly suspect, since we have real world data of what a 10.2 megaton explosion does and the two look virtually the same. Xtraeme 11:05, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I can’t comment on the actual numbers, but Ivy Mike was detonated at surface so most of the energy was dissipated into the atmosphere. In contrast, impact craters are produced by projectiles that penetrate some depth (variable depending on angle of impact, velocity, density, strength of projectile and target) into the earth before exploding, so almost all of the energy is deposited into the earth and therefore should produce a deeper crater with more ejecta for the same energy. The best comparison would be between underground nuclear tests and impact craters of similar energy. With impact craters, the target properties are also quite important. For example I’d expect the same energy yield to produce a smaller crater in the Tswaing area (strong granite) compared to the Barringer/Meteor crater (weaker sedimentary rocks). --Zamphuor 12:25, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The above calc seems to use a density of 3 tonnes/m^3, but for an iron-nickel meteorite shouldn't that be nearer 8 tonnes/m^3 (thus upping the mass and energy) ? - Rod57 (talk) 07:32, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Hey all,

Can someone explain the figure (quote) "half of the impactor's 300,000 tonnes (330,000 short tons) bulk" when Canyon Diablo (meteorite) tells a Total Known Weight (TKW) of 30 tons ? Is this a kind of typoo ?? --rosetta 17:40, 16 June 2009 (GMT) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The sentence means that half of the impactor's mass was vaporized and dispersed during atmospheric passage, before hitting the ground. Most of what was left was vaporized by a shockwave that was transmitted into the impactor from the point of impact, immediately after contact with the ground. Canyon Diablo meteorites are the leftovers of the impactor that either separated from the main mass in flight and aerobraked to a lower velocity or sheared off the back end before the rarefaction wave got there.

As for a couple of other points, I don't know any modern source that claims any significant portion of the impactor's mass is hidden under crater wall and it doesn't fit my understanding of physics. We've known since Barringer's day that there is no large magnetic anomaly in the structure. I also don't know how much weight should be given the Nature paper, given that everyone has been saying 10 MT all along. One "breakthrough" paper like Science and Nature tend to publish isn't exactly a definitive source. Results must be confirmed by further work before we re-write the body of literature on how the crater formed, and their number looks like an outlier to me. I say if we can find three or more sources that cite 10 megatons, we throw the Nature paper out. Geogene (talk) 23:27, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Excuse the ignorance and probably a stupid question, but when you say that the meteorite was 50 meters across, are you referring to the dimension in space or the dimension at time of impact? Would appreciate a clarification in the article. Olan7allen (talk) 19:40, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Nobody knows; explosive power is pretty easy to estimate, but velocity and mass vary with different sources. Here's a university article claiming that the asteroid in space had a diameter of 30 meters or larger. [1] Geogene (talk) 16:15, 13 August 2009 (UTC)


Let's not overdo the number of images - four images, one per section, is quite enough! Also, please consider what value the images actually bring to the article. -- ChrisO 09:26, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Two of the image captions say that the mass of the meteorite is buried under the crater, while the article says that nearly all of it was vaporized on impact. Another image is captioned "Meteor crater", as if it were some other crater than the Barringer Crater. These captions need work.—Wdfarmer (talk) 01:14, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Cites needed[edit]

For a subject with so much published research on it, this page is woefully under-cited. If you are the one with access to these materials, please cite at least once per paragraph. The date of human inhabitation is unnecessary and both highly speculative and controversial. Dudeman1st (talk) 18:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Topographic map[edit]


Where can I find a very precise topographic map of the Barringer Crater ?

Thank you ! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I recall that there is a very detailed map of the crater itself on display in the visitor center, maybe you can get a copy there —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

And here: [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mmairing (talkcontribs) 23:48, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Citing the museum at the visitor's center[edit]

If someone were willing to actually visit the Meteor Crater (which I did about a month ago, before looking at this article), a source of good citations would be the museum itself at the Visitor's Center.

Also, at the museum there is a display that challenges the assertion in this article that "Very little of the meteorite remained within the pit that it had excavated." The display shows a significant chunk of the meteorite buried about as far underground as the diameter of the crater, along an angled path from the center of the crater that indicates the angle of the original impact. --Mosher (talk) 16:14, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Mileage from Flagstaff[edit]

BTW, the article was incorrect in stating that the BM Crater is located "35 miles" from Flagstaff. I was just there 6 days ago and drove there directly to and from Flagstaff. The distance is 58 miles. A simple check of Google Maps will confirm that. Ronstock (talk) 19:14, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Please check your google maps again. You're way off. Americasroof (talk) 04:54, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Why is it not round?[edit]

What caused the square-with-rounded-corners shape of this crater? Other craters are more or less round (circular). And indeed if a lot of energy is released at one point without any explicit directional guidance, one would expect its effects to be non-directional, i.e. equal in all directions, thus producing a circular crater. If the meteor impacted at an angle, I could see how the crater might be elliptical, but this one has a definite square shape. Any explanation? Rennybosch (talk) 02:51, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Erosion? it is quite big, and subject for lot of tourist attention, so one would think it could be caused by that. any other ideas? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The crater was originally hemispherical but the walls of the crater have slumped over time. The floor you see today is actually a mass of rubble some 300m deep covering the "true" floor of the crater. -- ChrisO (talk) 12:02, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
A sentence (with ref) explaining this was added to the article in May 2009. The non-circular shape is attributed to pre-existing large-scale faulting at the impact site. Although the explosive force was equal in all directions, the rock strata were not equally strong in all directions, thus a non-circular crater was the result. Piperh (talk) 08:36, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Inability to climb out in a C150[edit]

This seems interesting. If the prevailing wind is from one direction, they may have been trying to climb out the wrong side. If the wind from all directions went toward the center, it had to go somewhere and they should have been able to spiral climb in the center of the crater and escape. Not that pilots don't always think of things like that. The C150 with two people has an abysmal climb rate, of course. The wording of the last sentence could be improved - they didn't continue to fly in the same aircraft while pointing out the wreckage to visitors. (talk) 20:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

A ref has been added to a somewhat detailed accident report for this crash. Apparently the plane did not run out of fuel (in fact, it caught fire upon crashing) nor is there explicit mention of downdrafts. My understanding (as a layman, not a licensed pilot) of spiral flight is that the rate of climb will be less than in straight-and-level flight because the lift vector of the wings is no longer vertical. There would be a limit to how tight a spiral can be flown before rate of climb would become negative. A high bank angle combined with low air speed needed for a tight spiral is an invitation to aerodynamic stall -- which is what happened in this case. Piperh (talk) 09:12, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

The official accident report that's referenced in the Cessna 150 says nothing about downdrafts or the plan being trapped. It only says that the plane stalled during a 'low pass'.

Age conflict[edit]

This article says 50,000 years old, while the Canyon Diablo (meteorite) article says 20-40,000. Which is right?

Barringer Crater Mining Company[edit]

The article reads: "He persisted nonetheless and sought to bolster his theory by uncovering the remains of the meteorite"

Just to be clear, Barringer "persisted" and "sought" to make a great deal of money mining iron and platinum group elements from the remains of the meteorite. That was the purpose of his explorations there, it was what he told his investors they were doing, and it's why and how he filed a mineral claim on the crater, which was on Federal land.

There's nothing wrong with smart people making a good living. And Barringer was a very sharp man. But it isn't like he was drilling on an NSF grant or something. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Geogene (talkcontribs) 16:53, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Add Crater Infobox?[edit]

Someone may want to apply crater template {{Infobox crater | crater_name = {{PAGENAME}} | image_crater = | alt_crater = | caption_crater = | image_bathymetry = | alt_bathymetry = | caption_bathymetry = | location = | coords = {{coord|35|1|38|N|111|1|21|W|type:landmark_region:US-AZ_scale:20000|display =inline,title}} | type = | basin_countries = | length = | width = | area = | depth = | max-depth = | volume = | rim = | elevation = | cities = | reference = }}

--YakbutterT (talk) 23:23, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Should coon mountain be mentioned in the article[edit]

It seems this crater was known as coon mountain, and is cited as such in some literature. Indeed, the redirect seems to point here, but shouldn't it be mentioned in the article as well? HrundiEuphorion (talk) 21:54, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Holy Moly[edit]

You guys got good pictures! Good job!KF5LLG (talk) 12:23, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

File:Meteor Crater - Arizona.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Meteor Crater - Arizona.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on April 18, 2012. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2012-04-18. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 17:33, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Meteor Crater, Arizona

Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater approximately 43 miles (69 km) east of Flagstaff, Arizona, US. It was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch. The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 m (160 ft) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several km per second.

Photo: National Map Seamless Server, USGS
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

More work needed![edit]

What was the actual effect of the strike? So far all this article states is a massive crater was formed by a huge explosion. And? What was the blast radius? Did the strike change global weather conditions? Need more to be done. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:28, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Er, there's really not much known about those effects, because they don't leave lasting evidence. We can speculate, based on the size of the crater and the approximate period it happened in, but that's not terribly helpful in the long run.—The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:45, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

The article needs info on the radius of the ejecta blanket. According to the museum, the radius was 1 mile, but I don't have any citations. Light Peak (talk) 23:02, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Total Known Mass / weight of meteor[edit]

Back in 2009 a contributor to this Talk page ('rosetta' 17:40, 16 June 2009 (GMT)) asked if the 300,000 tonnes cited as the mass of the meteorite was not possibly a "typo." Many references cite a weight / mass of "30 metric tons" (see and as well as the Wikipedia article "Canyon Diablo (meteorite)") for the pre-impact meteor / meteorite. The poster, 'rosetta' never received a relevant response to this question / concern so I thought I'd bring it up again here. This is not my area of expertise but, since there does seem to be some disagreement / some ambiguity, I thought it might be 'safer' to remove the explicit reference to 300,000 tonnes for now since it is not needed to make the point about 1/2 of the meteorite's bulk being vaporized during its descent.

"...It is believed that about half of the impactor's 300,000 metric tons (330,000 short tons) bulk was vaporized during its descent, before it hit the ground...."

I hope more knowledgeable editors can find an appropriate reference / citation to add to the article if the mass is to be re-instated. Pugetbill (talk) 17:25, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Diablo Canyon crater?[edit]

I'm aware that the meteorite is called "Diablo Canyon", but I can find no authority that the crater was ever so-called. GNIS gives eight variant names, but Diablo Canyon isn't one (Meteor Crater Detail at GNIS).

Also, I can find no support for JP Barringer's (ref 2) statement that natural features are named after the nearest post office. The GNIS policy says no such thing (US BGN Principles, Policies, and Procedures). If it was ever true, I don't know (though I doubt it considering the purpose of the BGN); however, is JP Barringer a reliable authority for this information? The source is merely a transcription of a speech he gave, so a primary source for all intents and purposes.Richigi (talk) 15:52, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Former or formal[edit]

Is the name "Canyon Diablo Crater" a former (previous) or formal (official) name? DHN (talk) 18:39, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Surely it is the former, or previous, name? David J Johnson (talk) 18:45, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
According to GNIS, it is neither formally nor formerly called Diablo[2]. I requested a citation for the claim back in November; still haven't seen one. Richigi (talk) 22:17, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Talking two different things here, the change I reverted was in the caption to the NASA image File:Landsat Meteor Crater.jpg which now states ...Diablo Canyon for which the meteorite is formerly named . The Canyon Diablo (meteorite) The ref there states: This is an OFFICIAL meteorite name. this reference. It is the name of the meteorite, not the name of the crater. Vsmith (talk) 11:17, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Vsmith is right, the meteorite is named for Diablo Canyon, currently not formerly. The caption is about the meteorite. I just removed the adjective altogether since a qualifier isn't really necessary. Richigi (talk) 17:45, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Map shows location incorrectly in Coconino County[edit]

The current infobox map shows the location as being in Coconino County, when it should be in Navajo County. Could someone who knows how to adjust these maps please correct that? Backspace (talk) 09:47, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

The crater is in Coconino County per USGS Flagstaff 30x60 quad. Winslow, about 25 km to the east, is just east of the county line in Navajo County. Vsmith (talk) 13:19, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I just recently edited the article to reflect the point that it is located in Coconino County, but then immediately undid my edit because of a lot of conflicting evidence. All three relevant categories in the article said/say that it is in Navajo County, when I could see by the map (assuming that it was correct) that it was in Coconino County. I have actually been there, and at the time believed it to be in Coconino County, which is the primary reason that I did the original edit. Based upon your assessment I shall have to redo my undo. This will happen forthwith. Backspace (talk) 20:54, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Good catch, I hadn't noticed the erroneous categories. Vsmith (talk) 22:54, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

The "Basket" Meteorite[edit]

The “Basket meteorite” that is mentioned in Revision as of 13:44, June 16, 2013 is for real. It is likely not notable enough to be included in this article. However people interested in what the “Basket meteorite” is and how it relates to Meteor Crater can go to and read either Long-lost meteorite comes home to Ariz. by John Faherty, The Arizona Republic, March 24, 2009 or page 7 of Starscan, Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society, Volume 25, Number 4 April 2009 Paul H. (talk) 01:42, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Not the largest in the US?![edit]

The Chesapeake bay crater article mentions that it is the largest impact crater in the US. Yet this article also claims Meteor Crater to be, and refers to a dubious (no measurements listed, nor a comparison) webpage mentioning this fact. However, the size of the two impact craters is so drastically different that it's obvious that the Chesapeake bay crater is the largest in the US, and this article is wrong to claim so. See — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

What about the evidence of electrical discharge event?[edit]

Geologist George P. Merrill found in 1908 that the rock layers underneath the crater are undisturbed, which does not fit the standard bolide impact model.

An electrical explanation of the crater envisions an approaching bolide entering the strongest region of Earth’s electric field and, under prodigious internal electrical stresses, beginning to discharge explosively and to fragment. Before reaching the surface it is likely to have already blown apart, for the same reason that comets have exploded millions of miles from the Sun and the Tunguska bolide exploded high in the earth’s atmosphere.

The apparent "reverse" stratification of the debris distributed by the event fits an electrical discharge model. A rotating, crater-producing electric arc will work down from the surface through layers of soil, spraying the material across a wide region. This could mean that the debris field would be laid down roughly in layers that reversed the strata of the surrounding terrain. Barringer himself found that “different types of rocks in the rim and on the surrounding plain appeared to have been deposited in the opposite order from their order in the underlying rock beds.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mattsileo (talkcontribs) 12:20, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

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