These are updates about the study of
the suspected impact crater site at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
We've found clues in the rocks and local geography
to indicate an ancient eroded impact crater.
It would be called an "impact structure" because there isn't
enough of the crater left to clearly see it any more.
It appears to be over 50 miles in diameter.
Within the circular region, the geology is different from its surroundings.
Various forms of erosion
(presumably at least glacial, lake and stream)
as well as faulting have erased most of it from view.
It would explain part of the underlying geology and unique character
of the Black Rock Desert.
Now the Black Rock playa runs through it.
Among the remaining visible parts are 12 mountain ranges including the
Black Rock Range, Calico Mountains, Kamma Mountains,
Jackson Range, Granite Range, Selenite Range, Seven Troughs Range and others.
So you have to look carefully - but we find more clues
with every visit we make to the area.
- September 14, 2014
Here are my presentation slides from the California Meteorite Club
meeting on Sept 14, 2014 in Escondido, California.
(Or download the PDF slides (2.4MB)
- January 16, 2011
Here's my annual summary of
the current status of the suspected crater research project,
"State of the Research 2011".
- December 27, 2010
from my visit to Upheaval Dome
impact site in Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah.
- December 26, 2010
from my visit to Meteor Crater (also known as Barringer Crater)
in northern Arizona.
- September 8, 2010
I posted photos from my trip to Tennessee and Kentucky on Sept 3-7,
which included visits to the confirmed impact sites at
Wells Creek (TN), Middlesboro (KY) and Flynn Creek (TN).
- January 2, 2010
A New Years
summary of the Black Rock crater research as of Jan 2010
was sent to the mail list.
- October 11, 2009
Photos were posted from the Stratofox 6 trip to Black Rock on Oct 10-11, 2009.
This was a Stratofox team training event and recreational
exploration of the Black Rock Desert.
We piggybacked some crater research exploration onto the trip.
The entry for the possible impact crater at Black Rock has
been updated on the
maintained by David Rajmon for the
Impact Field Studies Group (IFSG).
The update includes the 87km diameter which we submitted to them
- April 27, 2009
Photos were posted from the Stratofox Crater Assault 4 trip to Black Rock
on April 26, 2009
to continue investigating the impact crater theory.
- January 22, 2009
A new "Updated candidate crater
outline and diameter" has been posted.
A circle has been fitted to a succession of terrain features
around the area.
This has expanded the estimated diameter up to 54 miles or 87 km.
- January 3, 2009
It's a new year. Like I did last year,
I'll summarize what we did and learned in the past year,
and the current status of the research project.
I'm calling this summary the
State of the Research 2009.
- November 10, 2008
The December issue of
Discover Magazine mentions my amateur science research
about the suspected impact crater at Black Rock.
Of course, I have
friends to thank for help along the way.
- September 30, 2008
Bob Verish wrote in his "Bob's Findings" column in Meteorite Times
Magazine's September 2008 online issue about
"Stratofox.Org's Crater Assault #3".
He attended SCA3 and provided us with a lot of
his useful knowledge and experience.
- September 28, 2008
Photos were posted from the Stratofox 5 camping trip which was located at Upper High Dry lakebed.
- September 15, 2008
For comparison, here are
of shatter cones in New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains
near Santa Fe.
- September 7, 2008
Photos were posted from the Stratofox Crater Assault 3 trip to Black Rock to
continue investigating the impact crater theory.
See the trip report e-mail.
- April 20, 2008
"Breccia/fractured rock boundary at
Upper High Dry"
is an article I wrote to summarize significant findings from Summer 2007,
- August 20, 2007
Photos were posted from the Stratofox 4 camping trip which was located at Upper High Dry lakebed.
- August 17, 2007
"Southern Rings" view of Black Rock Desert suspected impact site
- July 15, 2007
For comparison, here are
photos from the Sierra Madera Crater
south of Fort Stockton, Texas.
- June 3, 2007
Photos were posted from the Crater Assault 2 trip to Black Rock held on June 2, 2007.
- March 9, 2007
WikiNews posted a news article, "Rocketeers find possible impact crater in Nevada"
- February 16, 2007
"Preview: Geological Map of Black Rock based on Satellite Imagery", showing preliminary geological map from satellite imagery by Brad Douglas
- February 10, 2007
"Submitted for Study: Discovery of Possible Impact Crater at Nevada's Black Rock Desert" by Ian Kluft, the original article
Photos were posted from the Crater Assault 1 trip to Black Rock held on January 28, 2007.
(In case it isn't obvious the event name was intended just to be fun.)
Now you can see it on the map.
In January 2009, after 2 years of finding clues of an impact in the rocks,
an outline of the heavily-eroded circular formation was finally found.
The estimated size and outline
of the impact structure was updated to 54 miles or 87km as shown in
the diagram above.
Now that a circle can be fitted to it,
the center of the structure has been estimated at
40.90 N 118.94 W.
The previous theory of a
30x40 mile ellipse came from visually recognizing arcs in mountains.
But that apparently mixed up arcs of different sizes which now appear to
be concentric when seen in the wider view.
The smaller arc at the Kamma Mountains may be
remnants of a possible inner uplift ring.
The possible remnants of an outer rim appeared before
in the Black Rock Range and Jackson Mountains, but now also extend around
to the Antelope Range, Seven Troughs Range, Granite Range and
Hog Range Mountains.
The Calico Mountains appeared to be a rim before, which helped the eye
connect the dots to make the old ellipse theory - but now
appear as a straight line in comparison, which would be
better explained as post-impact faulting.
The new circular outline fits the terrain so much better than the older
elliptical outline that it immediately superseded it.
The features that make up the 54 mile/87 km ring are extremely difficult to
see when a map is zoomed out wide enough to see the entire structure.
It comes into better view when zooming in on the parts.
Finding an outline on the map isn't proof.
It's a big piece of the larger puzzle.
And having something tangible to point to should go a long way toward
getting understanding, patience and maybe even more assistance as the
search continues for more information and scientifically-publishable results.
The original article
"Submitted for Study: Discovery of Possible Impact Crater at Nevada's Black Rock Desert"
from February 2007 is still available.
It has some annotations to indicate things
that my team of volunteers and I have learned
in the process.
If you're interested,
join the BR-Crater mail list
See also the mail list archives.
For additional information, see Wikipedia articles about:
The best source we've found for learning about
recognizing impact craters is the e-book
"Traces of Catastrophe"
by Dr Bevan M French of the Smithsonian Institution.
An excellent slide show and informative article is
"Terrestrial Impact Craters"
by Christian Koeberl and Virgil L. Sharpton
of the Lunar and Planetary Institute
This page's URL can be shortened to