Ever wonder what becomes of a place after a meteor strike? There are some fascinating stories behind these 15 meteor sites across the United States. Some resulting craters have served as Apollo space mission training grounds or provided oil-rich resources, while others simply become attractions for locals and visitors to ogle.
The only confirmed impact crater in the state of Alabama measures 4.7 miles in diameter. The crater wasn’t internationally recognized as an impact crater until the very late 1990s, making it one of the more recent discoveries on this list.
Today, the privately owned , which measures three-quarters of a mile in diameter and 550 feet deep, is a popular tourist attraction. The site also houses a visitor's center featuring details about the crater’s late 19th-century discovery, as well as other interactive exhibits on meteorites. The crater was officially designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1967 under the name Meteor Crater.
Formed roughly 35 million years ago, the meteor that crashed into what is now known as the Chesapeake Bay hollowed out a 56-mile-wide crater on the Northern Atlantic floor, entrapping a small lake of dating back over 100 million years. Discovered in the late 1990s, its impact was so significant that scientists believe it spawned massive tsunamis which reached roughly 100 miles inland.
While the impact site of the Sierra Madera Crater is located on private land, the 8-mile wide crater is quite visible from a nearby highway - as it peaks at nearly 800-feet above ground. The site even served as a training ground for U.S. astronauts, Gene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who traveled into space on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Located near the northernmost U.S. city, the crater known as Avak Crater was discovered in the early 1940s but wasn’t confirmed as a meteor site until 1995. The crater is about 5 miles in diameter, located underneath the arctic plain.
The Lost City meteorite, a 9.83-kilogram chunk of rock, was discovered on a dirt road near the predicted impact site in Oklahoma, turning the unremarkable location into the home of the first ever meteorite fall captured on camera. The meteor shower was photographed on January 3, 1970, and could be heard up to 620 miles away.
Used as a source for oil and gas, the impact origin was first confirmed in 1973 by geologist, Jack Wroble.
The impact, which occurred during the Jurassic period, is not visible on the surface but holds a current diameter of about 4.3 miles.
Believed to be less than 430 million years old, the 2.5-mile-wide Glasford Crater was discovered when wells were dug to drill underground natural gas in the area. The earliest published reports on the crater date back to 1963.
The measures 550 feet in diameter and about 100 feet deep. However, due to soil and debris buildup, the crater currently sits at only 15 feet deep. The site, discovered in the 1940s, is visible on the surface and has since been designated as a National Natural Landmark.
At roughly 320 million years old, the crater impact is believed to have occurred underneath 10 meters of seawater. The crater itself measures about 150 meters deep and 2.4 miles wide.
was formed 1,000 years ago, but researchers identified it as a meteor crash site in 1925. The crater measures only 50 feet in diameter, making it one of the smallest craters on the list (and in the world).
Not visible on the surface, the crater known as Red Wing was discovered in 1972 using seismic techniques. Measuring about 5.5 miles in diameter, the crater is buried 2,000 feet beneath the surface and provides a continuous source of oil.
Discovered in 1991 the Ames Crater spans roughly 10 miles in diameter. Researchers struck oil after drilling approximately 10,000 feet into the crater. Today, it is the largest of six oil-producing craters in the U.S.
About 100 miles northeast of bustling Austin, Texas, an 8-mile-wide crater is situated beneath the Earth’s surface. The crater went unnoticed until drilling in the area occurred during the late 1980s.