|Meteorites from Canyon Diablo (Arizona Meteor Crater)
The first known meteorites from Arizona were found in the 1880s by sheepherders in Canyon Diablo, several miles west of Meteor Crater, which was known during those times to area cattlemen and settlers as Coon Butte. Meteor Crater, located about 20 miles west of Winslow, Arizona was regarded by most geologists as volcanic in origin until the 1950s when geology graduate student Eugene Shoemaker began adding new studies and evidence to support the theories and pioneering work in the early 1900s of Daniel Barringer.
Meteor Crater, now a national landmark, finally became the first impact crater on Earth generally recognized as such by the scientific community. Today it is known that Meteor Crater was created by the impact of an iron asteroid weighing several hundred thousand tons which approached at a relatively low angle and traveling at approximately 11 miles per second (40,000 miles/hour).
It disintegrated just prior to impact sometime around 50,000 years ago, with thousands of pieces breaking off the larger masses and scattering over the surrounding area. The explosion at the moment of impact is estimated to have been the equivalent of a 1.7 megaton bomb, creating an impact crater nearly a mile in diameter.