On our way back from Guadalupe Mountains National Park we decided to stop at Odessa Meteor Crater outside of Odessa, Texas. You may remember that during our 2015 Road Trip that we tried to stop but it was already closed.
Thankfully this time we made sure to get there shortly after they opened. I was so excited as I had never seen a meteor crater before and this one you could walk through! However, what I was expecting was not what I got. Before I get into my thoughts, here is the history behind the crater.
History of Odessa Meteor Crater
Around 63,500 years ago thousands of iron meteorites known as octahedrites fell on the site; three craters make up the depression. While the crater was found in 1892 by Julius D. Henderson who was searching for a lost calf, it wasn’t recognized as a meteor crater until 1922 when Elias H. Sellards, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, came upon the crater in the field.
The crater is about 550 feet in diameter and was originally about 100 feet deep, however, due to subsequent infilling by soil and debris is it now only 15 feet deep at its lowest point.
A 8′ x 12′ shaft was dug 165 feet below the surface in an attempt to find a meteorite. No meteorite was ever found and is believed to have vaporized on impact.
It is recognized as a National Natural Landmark and includes a self-guided walking trail through the crater.
I won’t lie, I expected it to be MUCH bigger (or deeper I should say). However, it was still pretty awesome to see and the fact that you could walk through it was a major bonus for me.
I loved the fact that it was self-guided and I was not rushed through it. It was also free which was another bonus!
Take I-20 towards Odessa and take exit 108. Go south and follow the signs to the crater.