Meteor Impact Structures


West Texas is home to the only two meteorite impact structures on the surface of Texas: Odessa Meteor Craters and the Sierra Madera Astrobleme. Both have been studied in detail by scientists. Odessa is credited as being only the second meteor crater to be recognized on our planet and is designated a "National Natural Landmark." Sierra Madera was extensively studied by NASA geologists as a probable analogue for the lunar crater Copernicus.


The main Odessa crater is 0.17 km in diameter whereas the Sierra Madera crater is nearly 70 times larger at 12 km in diameter. At least four small craters are associated with the main Odessa Crater. Indeed, it has been proposed that Meteor Crater, Arizona may have been part of the same fall as the Odessa meteorites 50,000 years ago.

Want to see an animation of a meteorite impact? Click here, then click on the image after it has loaded.

Want to see a list of all of the known impact craters in the world? Click here.

Want to learn about the risk of an asteroid hitting the earth in the future? Click here or here for more information.

Want to see pictures of the comet that crashed into Jupiter in 1994? Click here.


Basically two types of craters are recognized on earth; and we have excellent examples of both here in West Texas. The main Odessa crater is used as the type example for simple craters. Indeed, craters around the world are classified as either the "Odessa type" or the "Barringer type" (Meteor Crater, Arizona).

Sierra Madera is characterized by astrogeologists as the best exposure of a complex crater