1976 - present
By examining meteorites the hall explores essential questions about the origins of our solar system which formed some 4.6 billion years ago. The hall is divided into sections, which focus on the origins of the solar system, the processes involved in building planets, and meteorites and meteorite impacts, with details about impact sites in Kansas, South Africa, and other locations around the world. More than 130 scientifically significant meteorites are displayed here, notably the fragments of the Cape York Meteorite from Greenland, including the 34-ton Ahnighito, the Woman, and the Dog. The Ahnighito is the largest meteorite on display anywhere in the world and is so heavy that it required support posts to the bedrock of the Museum. The hall features rare Mars specimens and Moon rocks collected in the Apollo missions of the 1970s. A scale model of the Meteor Crater of Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, and considered the world’s best-preserved impact crater, is featured with a cutaway section to illustrate how the crater was formed (2; 3).
A scale model of the Meteor Crater of Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater and considered the world’s best-preserved impact crater, is featured with a cutaway section to illustrate how the crater was formed. The identification of this feature as an impact site in the early 20th century changed the way scientists thought about the solar system as researchers began to argue that impacts might have cratered the Moon and other planets. (source: AMNH website, accessed October 24, 2016)
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