This incredibly primal ancient place is Meteor Crater in Arizona between Winslow and Flagstaff. The best-preserved impact crater on Earth, this 50,000-year-old, 2.4 miles in circumference and 550-foot deep hole in the ground was caused by a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (160 feet) across. The speed of the impact was 12.8 kilometers per second (8.0 miles per second) and about half of the meteor bulk was vaporized during descent. Impact energy has been estimated at 10 megatons with the meteorite mostly vaporized upon impact, leaving few remains in the crater.
When the impact happened the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper. The immediate area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by a wide assortment of mammals including woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths. Obviously, over time, this entire area has changed and now is part of the Arizona desert.
Zedekiah: “I love the serpentine river/canyon snaking its way across the foreground in this image. That is the Diablo River in the Diablo Canyon. I shot this image quite late in the afternoon and had to crank up the ISO to get enough light gain. I focus-vignetted it intentionally to bring out the mysterious and otherworldly feeling this ancient scene evokes.”