Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater


Measuring more than 870 meters (2850 feet) across and 50 meters (164 feet) deep, the Wolfe Creek Crater is the second largest rimmed meteorite crater in the world. The largest crater with a discernible rim formed by the impact is Meteor Crater in Arizona. Dating techniques establish Wolfe Creek Crater as the older, at around 300,000 years, while Meteor Crater is about 50,000 years old.

The Wolfe Creek Crater is located in the flat plains of the northeastern edge of the Great Sandy Desert, some 90 kilometers (miles) south of the town of Halls Creek and about an hour’s drive from the nearby Aboriginal community of Billiluna where many of the artists now live.

In 1999 I initiated an intercultural dialogue to explore the indigenous meaning of the crater. My interest in the crater goes back to 1947, when my father, geologist Frank Reeves, made the world aware of the crater’s presence.

Frank Reeves with an Aboriginal guide at the Crater in 1944

While exploring for mineral resources for an Australian oil company, my father saw the crater from the air. Visiting the crater by land, he identified it as meteoritic in origin and published the first scientific article describing its features. In 1963 , Smithsonian Institution scientists visiting the crater identified two new minerals in the weathered meteoritic material, one of which they named “reevesite” in his honor.

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