Lunar and Planetary Institute
Lunar and Planetary Institute



LPI Scientist Writes New Guidebook

October 22, 2007

Colored circles illustrate the radial distances around the crater that were changed as a result of the impact.The Lunar and Planetary Institute’s (LPI) very own Visiting Scientist for the Lunar Exploration Initiative, Dr. David A. Kring, has written a new Guidebook to the Geology of Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona (a.k.a. Meteor Crater).

Meteor Crater’s impact site is arguably the world’s best preserved and most dramatic looking impact crater. Because of its similarity to lunar terrain, NASA used Meteor Crater during the Apollo era as a site for testing equipment that would be used on the lunar surface and to train astronaut crews. This site will likely be used again for astronaut crew training during Project Constellation, which is designed to put humans back on the Moon before 2020.

The book summarizes over 100 years of exploration at the crater and describes how impact cratering processes excavated the bowl-shaped cavity that is visible today, distributing over 175 million metric tons of rock on the surrounding landscape. He explores both the geologic processes that shaped the crater and the biological effects the impact event may have had on an ice-age community of mammoths and mastodons. The text is augmented by an extensive set of nearly 150 photographs of the crater, most of which are in full color.

Kring’s guidebook was first used by members of the Meteoritical Society who visited the crater a few weeks ago. The guidebook is certain to be a resource for many years, as Meteor Crater continues to be an important training site for planetary scientists.

LPI has produced a digital copy of the guidebook and has made it available for downloading. Also now available is a new 3D anaglyph of Meteor Crater (the image should be viewed using red-blue stereo glasses).


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Last updated January 30, 2008