Details for Odessa Meteor Crater (Atlas Number 5135003668)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5135003668


Marker Number 3668
Atlas Number 5135003668
Marker Title Odessa Meteor Crater
Index Entry Odessa Meteor Crater
City Odessa
County Ector
UTM Zone 13
UTM Easting 734872
UTM Northing 3517175
Subject Codes scientific topics; geology
Marker Year 1962
Marker Location By mile marker #106, appx. 10 mile West of Odessa on IH 20.
Marker Size Txdot. marker
Marker Text East and South (route marked) is located the Odessa Meteor Craters, formed in prehistoric time when a great shower of nickel-iron meteorites collided with the earth. Geologists estimate that the time of the meteor fall was about 20,000 years ago. The shower was composed of many thousands of individual meteorites of various sizes which fell over an area of about 2 square mile. The smaller meteorites, which were by far the most numerous, either came to rest on the earths' surface or at the bottom of shallow impact pits within the soil. there were several very large meteoritic masses in the shower, however, and these struck the earth with such enormous energy that they penetrated deeply into bedrock and shattered with explosive force, thus producing craters in the earth at the places of impact. when freshly formed the craters were funnel-shaped depressions, the largest about 550 feet in diameter and 100 feet in depth. More than 100,000 cubic yards of crushed rock was ejected from this crater by the energy released from the impacting meteoritic mass. Smaller crater in the vicinity of the main crater range from 15 feet 18 feet in depth. In the ages following their formation the craters gradually accumulated sediments deposited by wind and water. The main crater was eventually filled to with 6 feet of the level of the surrounding plain. It now appears as a shallow, nearly circular depression surrounded by a low, rock-buttressed rim. The several smaller associated craters were so completely buried that their existence was not suspected until they were exposed in excavations made by the University of Texas, in the early 1940's. Meteor craters are among the rarest and most interesting of land features. Observations by astrophysicists indicated that meteoritic bodies which strike our earth originate within our Solar System, probably form the steroidal belt located between the planets, Jupiter and Saturn.