The most studied impact crater on Earth
50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper, the space rock that carved Meteor Crater in Arizona hit the planet at 10 times faster than a rifle bullet.
During its plunge through the atmosphere, part of it breaking into a pancake-shaped cloud of iron fragments prior to impact. But about half the original 300,000-ton bulk remained intact, smacking the planet at about 26,800 mph (12 km/sec), said the study's lead researcher, Jay Melosh of the University of Arizona.
Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m (5,710 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (148 ft) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 210–240 m (690–790 ft) of rubble lying above crater bedrock.
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