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A Spectacular Celestial Collision
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For this EarthCache do the self-guided tour and visit the Thomas Rodman Museum and Visitor Center on site.
Museum hours Tuesday- Saturday: 9AM-5PM; Sunday, 1PM-5 PM (Closed Mondays).
The Crater Trail is open for self guided tours everyday from 9AM-5PM.
ODESSA METEOR CRATER
Some 24,000 to 25,000 years before present there was a spectacular celestial collision that impacted in present day western Texas. A shower composed of many thousand of individual nickel-iron meteorites of various shapes and sizes fell over an area of about 2 square miles. The smaller more numerous meteorites either came to rest on the earth’s surface or at the bottom of shallow impact pits within the soil. During this meteoritic shower, there were also several larger masses. These struck the earth with such enormous energy that they penetrated deeply into bedrock producing craters in the earth’s surface. The Odessa Crater was formed by one of these larger masses.
It is estimated that when the crater was originally formed it had a funnel-shaped depressions of about 550 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep. More than 100,000 cubic yards of crushed rock was ejected from this crater by the energy released from the impact. Smaller craters in the vicinity of the main crater range from 15 feet to 70 feet in diameter and from 7 feet to 18 feet deep.
Following the impact, 24,000 to 25,000 years of weathering has taken claim of the crater by the gradual filling and accumulation of water and wind blown sediments. The main crater was eventually filled to within 6 feet surrounding topography. The crater now appears as a shallow nearly circular depression surrounded by a low rock-buttressed rim. The other nearby smaller craters were completely buried that their existence was not know until they were exposed during the University of Texas in the late 1930s to the early 1940s.
To claim a find, please email me the answers to the three questions below. Also you will need to upload a picture of yourself holding your GPSr with the Odessa Meteor Crater in the background.
Question 1: From the excavations in the early 1940s at the 8' x 12' x 165' shaft in the center of the crater, how big is the meteorite that was recovered and at what museum is it now on display?
Question 2: With your GPSr, walk the center path going though the crater, what is the present day diameter of the crater?
Question 3: What is rock flour and how can you simulate its formation?
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Last Updated: on 6/30/2018 8:40:18 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:40 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum