Near Winslow, Arizona.
For a decade, twice a year we traveled I-40 between Albuquerque New Mexico, and Flagstaff Arizona on our way to Buckeye or on our way home to Fargo. Every year we went past the signs that show us the turn-off to the giant meteor crater. In December, we headed back to Albuquerque to celebrate Christmas with my sister and niece. It was December 22 that we finally took the very short detour off I-40 to visit the crater. Well, the truth is, we tried to stop in 2020, but they were closed due to the pandemic. But I digress…
This part of Arizona is part of the Colorado Plateau, a desert region near the borders of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The area, mostly high desert is a beautiful part of the country and, according to Wikipedia, contains the greatest concentration of national parks and monuments outside of Washington DC.
Around 50,000 years ago, a meteor estimated to be about 160 ft (50 m) across struck the earth at speeds suggested anywhere from 12 to 20 km/sec (29,000 to 45,000 mph). The meteor vaporized on contact leaving only a few fragments of nickel-iron as clues to the energy of the impact.
Now owned by the family of one of the men who first discovered the crater, then filed mining claims and purchased the surrounding property, the Barringer Crater is not a public site. In a future Travel Tuesday post, we’ll get into greater detail about the Meteor Center and the tours and educational opportunities available at the Barringer Space Museum.
About the photo: From one of the several viewing platforms, I captured several views of the crater with my Samsung S20U cell phone. The high desert is visited by snow each winter and prior to our arrival, the area was covered with a light snow cover, the remnants of which were still visible on the south rim of the crater.
Once I downloaded the images into Lightroom, I used Lightroom’s panorama function to join the images creating an image that was over 12,000 by 7,000 pixels. From that image, I cropped and tweaked, finally moving the image to Luminar AI for final touches. If you’d like to view the final image in 4K HD, click on the photo above to view it on my Flickr site.