Credit: Wallace Thornhill
Meteor Crater in Arizona
Is "Meteor Crater" really the showcase for the
impact hypothesis that astronomers and geologists have claimed?
Evidence for an electrical event is too clear to be ignored.
interested in today’s scientific folklore on meteor impacts have
probably already seen pictures of Meteor Crater in Arizona. So we’ve
chosen to put up instead an image that captures the power of
theoretical assumptions in the sciences. (A good picture of Meteor
Crater can be seen
The crater is located 20 miles west of Winslow Arizona. Geologists now confidently
say the depression, more than 4,000 feet wide, was created
50,000 years ago when a giant rock plowed into the desert.
The Meteor Crater Interactive Learning Center, which includes twenty-four
exhibits, bills the crater as the “first proven, best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth”.
The movie “Collisions and Impacts" shows twice each hour in an 80-seat
wide-screen movie theater. A 1,406 pound meteorite fragment,
the largest ever found in the area, is on display.
Of course, for many years scientists claimed that the earth’s surface
has no impact craters. But in 1902 a mining engineer, Daniel
Moreau Barringer, noting that small balls of meteoritic iron were
imbedded in the ejected rocks of the crater rim, concluded that a
meteorite impact caused the crater.
Assuming that the meteorite was extremely large, Barringer formed the
Standard Iron Company and began securing mining patents.
The mining venture spanned 27 years and cost Barringer’s group more than
$600,000 ($10 million in today's money). It produced nothing.
Barringer’s exploration of the site, however, became the foundation
for a new theoretical understanding of crater formation by impact.
Decades before Eugene Shoemaker’s highly regarded work, Barringer
convinced the scientific community that his impact theory of Meteor
Crater was correct. For this reason the depression is also called
Barringer made two presentations on his hypothesis to the Academy of Natural
Sciences in Philadelphia, the first in 1906, the second in 1909. In
addition to the absence of any naturally occurring volcanic rock in
the vicinity, he noted an abundance of finely pulveri zed silica. He
also observed large quantities of meteoritic iron, in the form of
globular "shale balls", scattered around the rim and surrounding
plain. The surrounding soil included a random mixture of meteoritic
material and ejected rocks.
For today’s electrical theorists, some of the historic investigation is
ironic. In 1908 Barringer’s impact explanation found a vigorous
supporter in geologist George P. Merrill, who closely examined a
form of quartz glass in the vicinity of the crater. He concluded
that this type of quarts could only be produced by intense heat,
“similar to the heat generated by a lightning strike on sand”.
Merrill also pointed to the undisturbed rock beds below the
crater that proved “the force which created the crater did not come from below”.
The undisturbed rock beds below the crater contradict the standard
opinion on the event that created the large pit. The report by the
Meteor Crater Interactive
Learning Center states: “The meteorite which made it was
composed almost entirely of nickel-iron, suggesting that it may have
originated in the interior of a small planet. It was 150 feet
across, weighed roughly 300,000 tons, and was traveling at a speed
of 28,600 miles per hour (12 kilometers per second) according to the
most recent research. The explosion created by its impact was equal
to 2.5 megatons of TNT, or about 150 times the force of the atomic
bomb that destroyed Hiroshima”. Certainly that is not the kind of
event that would leave the rock beds below the crater “undisturbed”.
Merrill’s findings are the very kind of things that an electric discharge
hypothesis would anticipate. An electrical explanation of the crater
envisions an approaching bolide entering the strongest region of
Earth’s electric field and, under prodigious internal electrical
stresses, beginning to discharge explosively and to fragment. Before
reaching the surface it is likely to have already blown apart, for
the same reason that comets have exploded millions of miles from the
Sun and the Tunguska bolide exploded high in the earth’s atmosphere.
Another small-scale example of this effect is the unexpectedly
energetic explosion created by the Deep Impact projectile when it
met up with Comet Tempel 1. Every astronomer who observed the event
In the electrical interpretation, fragments of a bolide reaching the
surface intact will generally be scattered some distance from the
electrical crater or craters caused by the discharge.
The electrical theorists insist that the usual artists’ “splatter”
picture of an asteroid or meteor impact is unimaginative and wrong.
Not one artistic impression of this sort has ever included a
lightning bolt. That’s because the artists’ image is based upon a
model scientists use to estimate the effects of a mechanical impact.
That model cannot be correct if we live in an electric universe.
One reason for believing that the crater was excavated by an electric discharge
is the apparent stratification of the debris distributed by the
event. A rotating,
crater-producing electric arc will
work down from the surface through layers of soil, spraying the
material across a wide region. This could mean that the debris
field would be laid down roughly in layers that reversed the strata
of the surrounding terrain. So it is interesting that the Meteor
Crater website confirms Barringer’s finding that “different types of
rocks in the rim and on the surrounding plain appeared to have been
deposited in the opposite order from their order in the underlying rock beds”.
There are two other reasons for considering the electrical interpretation.
The immediate surroundings exhibit more than one
or sinuous channel, something left entirely unexplained by the impact
hypothesis, but a demonstrable effect of electric discharge. And
most enigmatic is the presence of fulgurites within the crater. A fulgurite
is fused and glassified sand resulting from a lightning strike.
The presence of fulgurites in the crater (see photograph
here) is almost never mentioned in the standard literature on Meteor
It is also
worth noting that researchers investigating the “impact” appear to
be moving increasingly toward the idea of substantial fragmentation
of the body before striking the ground. Jay Melosh of
the University of Arizona, the lead researcher in a recent study
(reported in the March 10, 2005 issue of Nature), suggests that
about half of the 300,000-ton object was lost prior to impact. But
again, electrical considerations played no part in the analysis.