Blast From The Past

January 2014 

“The Blast from the Past! A decade of research on the Alamo impact crater in southern Nevada”.  by Leif Tapanila, Idaho State University.                 

Over 350 million years ago, back when Nevada was covered by warm ocean water, a large meteor blasted into the coastline. Rocks the size of houses were crumpled and tossed about like used soda cans, and hail-stones made of pure limestone rained from the sky. Giant waves of ocean water surged into Utah and then retreated westward, leaving gouges filled with sediment in its wake. When the roiling waves calmed back to normal, the shallow seafloor was permanently changed: a 60 mile-wide scar marks the eastern border of the Alamo crater.

Today, the crater is recorded in the layered rocks that make up the desert mountain ranges north of Las Vegas. By looking at the rocks below and above the impact crater, we have been able to assemble the history of the region and understand the effects of this meteor impact on sea life and the environment. This is a public lecture aimed at a general audience of all ages.