Arizona Astronomy – Practicing the Craft

Doing my best to create the feel of the great deserts . . .


Its four deserts sprawl across the Southwest, each differing in character as the calliope hummingbird and the deadly javelina. The Mogollon Rim, an escarpment which plunges 2000-feet to the Tonto Basin, divides the great expanse of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in the south from the Painted Desert and Colorado Plateau to the north.

Petrified trees that once witnessed the great dinosaurs lay scattered across the parched sand, as silent as the long-dead beasts who wandered among them. North of the escarpment, haunting Hopi mesas graze the sky, while a canyon that could only be named “Grand” plunges deep into Earth.

After the dinosaur, but 40,000 years before big game hunters stalked mammoth and bison across its grasslands, an iron-nickel meteor slammed headfirst into what is now Arizona. A blast equal to 20 million tons of TNT blew out an impact crater that would puzzle geologists well into the 20th Century. In a state whose geology runs to the extreme, Meteor Crater goes off the scale.

Image courtesy Angel Schatz

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Christensen August 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I especially liked the last paragraph. Can see that meteorite hurling towards AZ.

Nancy August 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

The first time I saw meteor crater, it blew my socks off. I think my jaw dropped. Thank you for the kind comment – I’m really working hard to regain my sense of beautiful writing. Looking forward to hearing more from you – and please consider writing something for the blog :)

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