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Principle of Horizontality

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What Formed This Crater?
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What Formed This Crater?


Credit: D. Roddy, U.S. Geological Survey
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meteor.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Volcanoes surround the area around Flagstaff, Arizona. A large crater lies about 25 miles away. In the past, some scientists thought the crater was an extinct volcano. Others thought it was created by a meteorite impact.

What Created Barringer Crater?

  • The crater is on the Colorado Plateau in the same flat-lying sedimentary rock layers that the Grand Canyon is carved into.
  • Around the rim, the rock layers are overturned.
  • Coesite and stichovite are minerals that have the same composition as quartz. They have very different structures. These minerals are found at Meteor Crater.
  • Far away from the crater geologists found limestone and sandstone debris.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about Barringer Crater, Arizona. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What would you look for to see that the rock layers outside the crater are overturned?
  2. What evidence did the scientists find to indicate that the crater was formed by a meteorite impact?
  3. What is the composition of the meteorite that created the crater? Which of Earth’s layers has a similar composition?
  4. What was the history of the meteor before it hit Arizona?
  5. Why did Barringer conclude that the meteor came in at an angle from the northeast?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: D. Roddy, U.S. Geological Survey; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meteor.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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