Thursday, July 23, 2009


July 20

Driving along the road from Flagstaff to Albuquerque, we come across a tiny notation on the map and a curious sign on the road: “Meteor Crater Road”. Curious, we veer off the highway, and up this long, narrow, mysterious road through the desert. Then another, larger, louder sign: “THE PROTOTYPE FOR THE STUDY OF ALL METEORS IN THE GALAXY”. Hmm, pretty big claim. Wonder what it is.

What it is – of course – is a hole in the plateau and a hole in the ground. A very, very big hole in the plateau. The crater is nearly a mile across and over 550 feet deep. It is the site of the largest meteor to hit planet Earth – an event that occurred 50,000 years ago. The giant meteor is judged to have weighed millions of tons, although all that remains of the meteor today is a small iron-nickel specimen and a collection of smaller fragments.

Today, on this 40th anniversary of the lunar landing, it is fitting that we two vagabonds should be visiting this inanimate invader from outer space.

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