Also once known as the Barringer Crater and the Canyon Diablo Crater, Meteor Crater is the breath-taking result of a collision between a 300,000 metric ton nickel-iron asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth long ago. Meteor Crater is so big that its rim can be seen from several miles away as it rises out of the red earth west of Winslow, Arizona. It is about 550 feet (170 m) deep and 4000 feet (1.2 km) across.
As early as 1895, US Geological Society Chief Geologist, Grove Karl Gilbert, believed that the crater was formed by a volcanic steam explosion. Though his theory seemed plausible with the San Francisco volcanic field located nearby, a mining engineer named Daniel Barringer soon determined Meteor Crater's true cataclysmic cause. Today, the Barringer family privately owns the Meteor Crater site and operates the outdoor observation trails, wide screen movie theater, interactive discovery center, Astronaut Memorial Park, and Visitor Center located on the crater rim.
The Museum of Astrogeology details the effects of meteors worldwide, while the Astronaut Hall of Fame records the experiences of men and women training in the crater for lunar landings. Astronauts for the Apollo space missions trained in Meteor Crater's moonlike terrain in preparation for their missions.