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Drilling for Iron

Posted by
Steve Rice (Olympia, United States) on 30 January 2014 in Landscape & Rural.

In 1891, the chief geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey concluded the crater was caused by a volcanic steam explosion. However, in 1903, mining engineer Daniel Barringer suggested the crater was caused by an iron meteorite. He staked a mining claim to the area surrounding the crater and began drilling in the crater floor to find the large iron meteorite he believed was buried under it. Exploration went on for 26 years until money ran out.

The reason no large iron deposits were found is because the asteroid was largely vaporized or melted into tiny pellets by the extreme heat and shock of the impact. The energy released is estimated in the 10 to 20 megaton range.

A few large fragments broke off, probably before impact, and landed a few miles away. The largest of these is at Meteor Crater.

Here, we see the cylindrical boiler and other machinery, used in drilling, next to the drill site. The flag on the fence is 6 feet X 3 feet (1.8 meters X 0.9 meters) and is barely visible to the unaided eye from the rim.

Meteor Crater
Arizona, USA

Jypyä Pop from Turku, Finland

Fortunately, the meteorite did not hit the city. An interesting commentary.

30 Jan 2014 5:48am

PATRICK from miramas, France

splendide compo

30 Jan 2014 7:06am

Doug from Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom

Incredible to see the huge impact sight it would be hard to imagine

30 Jan 2014 7:36am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

What a fascinating story - can well understand the how those expectations formed.

30 Jan 2014 8:03am

Bruce from Tacoma, United States

Thanks for the great photo and better yet the history lesson.

30 Jan 2014 8:13am

Veronique from Tarbes, France

Did they find pieces of meteorite iron ? Thanks for this explanation.

30 Jan 2014 8:26am

@Veronique: Yes, they found iron in two forms. One was tiny pellets of melted iron created by heat of the impact. The second was good sized chunks that probably broke off the meteorite before impact and landed a few miles away from the crater. The biggest of these is at the visitors center at Meteor Crater. You'll see it in a couple of days.

Etsu from Japan

Interesting story. Well captured and nice colors. Have a nice day. :)

30 Jan 2014 8:46am

jpla from St Barthélémy d, France

Une belle histoire

30 Jan 2014 8:57am

jean pierre from paris, France

merci pour les explications!! amitiés

30 Jan 2014 9:04am

Devi from Chennai, India

Thank you for this interesting narration and lovely composition :)

30 Jan 2014 10:23am

Lougris from Toulouse, France

Un plan large pour une belle vision de l'endroit ! parfait !

30 Jan 2014 11:07am

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Incredible view from on high - we can imagine a future meteor strike of such force.

30 Jan 2014 11:19am

J.R. from Urasoe City, Japan

WoW! All that old mining stuff is still there. Quite a place.

30 Jan 2014 12:07pm

Mhelene from Villiers-sur-Marne, France

Superb photo and very interesting !

30 Jan 2014 1:35pm

Kyu from Japan

Wonderful capture in beautiful green. I've enjoyed reading your interesting text as well.

30 Jan 2014 2:02pm

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

The flag definitely gives a sense of perspective to the shot Steve! Nicely captured! ;-)

30 Jan 2014 2:05pm

Shaahin Bahremand from Tehran, Iran

excellent shot

30 Jan 2014 2:12pm

Focales from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

Impressive desert

30 Jan 2014 4:09pm

Don from Spokane, United States

I had to zoom in several times in order to spot the flag. Thanks for suggesting that. The description of the search was very interesting and informative.

30 Jan 2014 4:13pm

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States

I see the flag - excellent long view from this view point

30 Jan 2014 5:46pm

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Beautiful textures captured in this shot! The flag sure helps establish the grand scale seen here. Thank you also for the informative background.

30 Jan 2014 6:07pm

Sam from Chennai, India

A lovely view. And interesting information. Nicely capured. :)

30 Jan 2014 6:42pm

franz from Baden, Austria

great info to go with this interesting shot! so he was looking not for the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow, but for the ton of iron below the meteor ... ;-)

30 Jan 2014 7:14pm

Mooie from Vancouver, Canada

Wow.... so he was half right. Really fascinating series!!

30 Jan 2014 7:18pm

Francisco Romero from Carbajal de la Legua, Spain

Very interesting info. The shear size is imposing.

30 Jan 2014 8:50pm

ROLAND THEYS from loverval, Belgium

Interesting story, good captured shot!

30 Jan 2014 11:12pm

helys from Paris, France

So interesting!

30 Jan 2014 11:13pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

very nice shot!
such beautiful composition, colors, lighting & textures!

30 Jan 2014 11:41pm

Baldwin Vandewalle from Bejuma, Venezuela

What most catches my attention is the huge crater created maybe by the blast pressure, because no meteorite was found on the site ... Very interesting image and fabulous explanation !!!

30 Jan 2014 11:44pm

@Baldwin Vandewalle: Yes, the blast was equivalent to a 10 - 20 megaton nuclear explosion. The crater and rim were formed in an instant. A pressure wave radiated out in all directions for some distance destroying everything in its path. Also, molten iron and rock were falling like rain all around the crater. It would not have been a pleasant place to be.

John Jungklaus from Chase Mills, NY, United States

wow Steve, This is a fantastic shot in large detail !! Very interesting and great text !!

31 Jan 2014 3:52am

Nicou from Sion, Switzerland

Quel dessin et rendu cela fiat sueprbe compo et vue.

31 Jan 2014 4:15am

L'angevine from Angers, France

intéressante cette partie de gauche en bas

31 Jan 2014 9:32am

Diana from Olympia, United States

Wow, the detail in the distance!

31 Jan 2014 11:23pm

Daryl Johnson from Worcester Park, United Kingdom

An interesting, and sad story... what an investment of time and money...

3 Feb 2014 7:59am