Glen Evans:
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Odessa Meteor Craters


"Long before the Indians fought the white man on these plains, and even before the Spaniards coughed dust of the New World prairie, a fiery body from the heavens, leaving a tail of flame in its wake, struck near the present town of Odessa, at a speed of 40 times that of any bullet fired from a modern rifle."

from the Odessa News Times, 1939

A local rancher found the first meteorite in the 1890ís, 10 miles southwest of Odessa, but it was not until 1929 that J. M. Barringer, Jr. firmly stated that he believed the depression to be a meteorite crater

Glen Evans was the geologist in charge of the exploration of the crater from 1939 until 1941, when the Bureau of Economic Geology took on the project as part of a joint venture involving Federal, State and County agencies.

The craters result from a meteorite shower which fell about 17,000 years ago in west Texas. Numerous specimens have been collected, some are badly weathered, but all appear to be nickel-iron meteorites. 

Glen explored Crater #2 with a series of deep trenches

Trenches dug into the Crater #2
Inspecting the deformed rock layers

East to West Section through Crater #2

Investigations included study of the geological changes caused by the impact. Each different pattern on the diagram below represents a rock unit. The meteorites were found in the zone of solid black shapes at the base of the crater.

Section drawing of small crater at Odessa
Meteorrte sample TM 57-1

Specimen: TM 57-1
Object: Nickel-iron meteorite
Location: Odessa meteor crater #2, Ector County, Texas
Collector: Glen Evans

Drawing of section at Odessa Meteor Crater
The drill rig

Sinking the shaft in the main crater

It was thought that the original impact body might remain at the base of the crater. Numerous drill cores were taken over the main crater as well as this major shaft building operation.

Unfortunately no meteorite was found by the time the excavation had reached solid rock layers of Triassic age.

Sinking the shaft

Diorama of the main crater during the shaft sinking.

Built for an earlier exhibit at the Museum.

Publication by Glen Evans and Gene Mear

No major publication, other than a progress report, was produced by the Museum at the time of the excavation. 


However, the recent publication by Glen Evans and Charles (Gene) Mear has filled in that gap.