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.