The company which owns and operates Meteor Crater–Meteor Crater Enterprises Inc.–maintains an active, professional media relations program to encourage print, broadcast and Internet news and features.

Credentialed members of the media are invited to be our guests for a tour of Meteor Crater and to call on us for resources and help in preparing feature articles and news items.

Advanced notice for on-site visits is required. Public relations, operations and scientific personnel are available to work with media representatives with advanced notice as well.

Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc. is also happy to provide quotes, photos, news and feature materials, video, interviews and other tools to reporters, editors, producers, etc. preparing stories and news items relating to Meteor Crater.

.For story ideas and content, contact Nicol Candalaria; 1-800-289-5898; e-mail:; Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc. P.O. Box 30940, Flagstaff, Arizona 86003-0940 for additional assistance.

Celestial Bodies Collide

The estimated time of the meteor strike that created the famous Meteor Crater in Northern Arizona was approximately 50,000 years ago.

Moderns humans had yet to set foot in Northern Arizona at the time of meteor impact.

The cosmic event began with the appearance of a small point of light in the eastern sky. With each second, it grew in brilliance and size as the meteor’s friction ignited super heated gases while followed by a spectacular tail of flame and smoke.

The approaching meteor lit the area with the light of hundreds of suns; its roar was defeaning; and it’s impact shook the earth for miles around as it released the energy of more than 20 million tons of TNT.

The meteor struck what is now Northern Arizona at speeds nearing 40,000 miles per hour; at that speed, it could have traveled from New York to Los Angeles in just four minutes!

Early Discoveries

The ancient ancestors of some of today’s Southwestern Native Americans were the first to explore the meteor crater. Evidence of their presence is found in artifacts left behind on the crater rim.

In 1871, a U.S. Army scout was the first of the Western territorial explorers and settlers to report the discovery of the crater.

Mathias Armijo, an Hispanic shepherd, found an unusual rock west of the crater near Canyon Diablo in 1886 and thought it was silver.

Chemists from the University of Pennsylvania found Armijo’s rock to be 92% iron, 7% nickel, and the remainder trace elements, the composition of many meteorites.

The First Scientists

In 1891, a Philadelphia chemist and mineralogist, Dr. A.A. Foot was the first scientist to visit the Crater.

Dr. Foote took more than 100 meteorite samples back east to study. Some of the samples contained tiny diamonds, indicating tremendous pressure in their creation.

Dr. Foote never speculated on the origin of the crater where he found the samples.

Dr. Foote’s analysis of the sample encouraged Dr. G.K. Gilbert, chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey to visit the Crater.

With little knowledge of crater creation mechanics and finding no magnetic abnormalities, Dr. Gilbert concluded and reported that the Crater was formed by exploding underground steam and gas pressures.

A well-respected scientist, Dr. Gilbert’s findings were not questions, and discovery of the real cause and significance of the crater was delayed almost a decade.

20th Century Science and Stewardship

In 1902, S.F. Holsinger of the U.S. Forestry Service told Daniel Moreau Barringer, a lawyer and mining engineer, about the crater and iron fragments found there.

Barringer suspected the crater was formed by a meteor strike and believed valuable deposits of iron and nickel waiting to be mined just below the surface of the floor of the crater.

Since it was originally owned by the U.S. Government which believed the land to be useless, Barringer was granted a mining claim entitling him to own two square miles of land that included Meteor Crater.

Barringer, along with Holsinger and partner Benjamin C. Tilgham, formed Standard Iron Corporation to mine the site.

In initial explorations, Holsinger discovered the largest meteorite on the site–a 1,406 pound iron meteorite named in his honor and on display in the Visitor Center on the crater’s rim.

From 1903 to 1928, the partners drilled shafts into the floor of the crater believing the meteorite minerals must be at the center of the crater’s floor. They found virtually no mineral deposits.

Experiments with shooting rifle bullets into thick mud later revealed that a circular crater like the Meteor Crater could be created by impact from almost any direction, even a low angle. Thus, the meteor which created the crater could have–and in fact did–hit at a low and off-center angle.

In honor of Daniel Moreau Barringer, “Barringer Crater” is used as the name of this natural wonder in scientific writings, and the Barringer family remained instrumental in stewardship, preservation and protection of Meteor Crater.

The Meteor Crater was called Coon Butte in the 1800s, is still called the Canyon Diablo Crater by some but is known worldwide as Meteor Crater today.

Experiencing Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater is the best preserved, first-proven meteorite impact site in the world.

It is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference, and more than 500 feet deep. A 60-story building could rest on its floor and its top would just reach the crater rim. Twenty football fields could be put on its floor and more than 2 million fans could watch games from the crater walls.

The topographical terrain of Meteor Crater so closely resembles that of the moon and other planets, NASA made it the official training site for Apollo astronauts.

The movie “Star Man” and numerous documentaries have been filmed at Meteor Crater.

More than 200,000 guests visit Meteor Crater annually from both the U.S. and throughout the world. Meteor Crater is one of the Southwest United States’ most popular international tourist venues.

Meteor Crater is a living laboratory for the study of meteoritics, cratering mechanics, moon and planet development and evolution, outer space exploration, geology and mineralogy.

The Meteor Crater Visitor Center includes a state-of-the-art big screen theater, interactive discovery center, air-conditioned crater viewing area, access to self-guided trails and guided walking tours, gift and souvenir shop and Subway restaurant.

The outdoor Visitor Center Meteor Crater Astronaut Memorial Park features an actual Apollo space test capsule and American Astronaut Wall of Fame.

The Meteor Crater gated RV Park boasts of 71 landscaped pull-through RV sites, clean and modern restrooms and showers, ADA/special needs accessible restroom and showers, free broadband, recreation room, laundry, camper convenience store, Mobil gas station and The Hole Enchilada Mexican Restaurant.

Meteor Crater is owned and operated by Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc, a privately held corporation.

Admission to the Visitor Center and crater is charged. Group and school admission rates are available.

Meteor Crater is located off Interstate 40 at Exit 233, 35 miles east of Flagstaff and 18 miles west of Winslow in diverse and beautiful Northern Arizona, U.S.A.

Nearby attractions include historic Winslow, Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, the Navajo Nation and Hopi Mesas, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks, Northern Arizona Lake and Mogollon Rim country, Sedona and numerous cultural, historic, hiking, shopping, dining, sightseeing and archeological amenities and visitor venues.