July 2010 - You just can't get back far enough!
Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater located approximately 43 miles (69 km) east of Flagstaff, near Winslow in the northern Arizona desert.
The site was formerly known as the Canyon Diablo Crater, and the meteorite that created the crater is officially called the Canyon Diablo Meteorite, the name that is on all officially labelled fragments of the meteorite. Scientists refer to the crater as Barringer Crater in honor of Daniel Barringer who was first to suggest that it was produced by meteorite impact. The crater is privately owned by the Barringer family through their Barringer Crater Company, which proclaims it to be "the first proven, best-preserved meteorite crater on earth."
The crater was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper. At the time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths. It was probably not inhabited by humans; the earliest confirmed record of human habitation in the Americas dates from long after this impact.
The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second. The impactor itself was mostly vaporized; very little of the meteorite remained within the pit that it had excavated.
Music: A night in the desert, by Shockshadow