About 49,000 years ago, a 50-meter-wide iron-nickel asteroid plowed into northern Arizona, releasing as much energy as 40 megatons of TNT. The explosion created a crater 150 meters below the surrounding plain and ejected more than 100 million tons of rock into the air. This cataclysmic impact event created the most famous and best-preserved meteorite crater in the world -- the renowned “Meteor Crater” near Winslow, Arizona. The crater is 1.2 kilometers across and 200 meters deep. (The Washington Monument is shorter by more than 30 meters.) Although the main mass vaporized during the collision, some iron-nickel fragments were ripped from the asteroid beforehand, during atmospheric passage; other fragments were broken off during the impact event itself. These iron masses, collectively known as Canyon Diablo (“Devil’s Canyon”) meteorites, are quintessentially American, prized by museums, research institutions and private collectors everywhere. This complete individual broke off in the atmosphere prior to the impact event. It and its paired specimens lay undiscovered until 1876 when a cattleman named Mathias Armijo picked up the first iron mass about 3 kilometers west of the crater.
Similar to the previous lot. Many Canyon Diablo fragments either broke off the main iron-nickel mass in the atmosphere or fragmented after the small asteroid struck Earth and pelted the northern Arizona landscape miles from the point of impact. The present offering is a playfully-shaped sample of the object which produced what is today the freshest large impact crater on Earth.