If people think Southern Alberta was windy, they need to visit a stretch of Arizona between Winslow and Winona. They never mentioned the wind on route 66! We called ahead to check on the visibility because of the low clouds in Flagstaff and the lovely lady at Meteor Crater said the visibility was fine, but the wind was gusting to 98 MPH. 98 MPH? We figured they must be using metric, right? Nope. Turns out as you drive upwards towards the crater rim the wind elevates as well. By the time we left the record for the day was up to 110 MPH.
Regardless of the wind, Meteor Crater provides a unique opportunity to see an actual impact site. Keep in mind that if it does get windy, the outside tours are shut down. Worth calling ahead if you want the outside tour. We went anyways as you can walk out on your own to the observation decks.
A chunk of metal, mostly iron crashed into the earth with a force equivalent to a 10-megaton bomb. The resulting crater is considered by many to be the best-preserved meteor crater due to it’s recent creation (only 50,000 years old) and the limited erosion. With its dry climate, the crater has remained mostly clear from debris and sediment. The resulting views show the devastating effects that a 150 ft wide chunk of iron can have when it’s travelling at 26,800 MPH.
Chunks of meteor have been found for several miles around the crater, with one of the larger chunks on display. No replica’s here, this piece of meteor is the real deal and it’s so cool to actually touch something that fell from space. The weight of this chunk is 1,400 lbs. It sounds significant until you realize the original meteor that struck the Earth was around 150,000 lbs!
After watching the video inside and walking through the exhibit we braved the wind and headed outside. Both the wind and the crater were hard to believe! Like the shirt said in the gift shop, we survived the wind at Meteor Crater.