Possible impact crater at Black Rock Desert, Nevada

This discovery can trace its roots back to the expeditions to the Black Rock Desert to train for the search and recovery of the first amateur rocket launch to space.

The page presents evidence for a 30×40 mile elliptical impact crater that surrounds part of the Black Rock Desert. Observations presented include rock samples, photographs and local geological literature. It’s so big and eroded that even standing within it, you can’t tell you’re in a crater unless you know which mountain ranges are remaining portions of its rim, floor and central uplift area.

The Black Rock Desert is known as a popular recreational spot for high-power rocketry, land sailing, rock hounding and camping. The Applegate, Lassen and Nobles pioneer wagon trails ran through it in the mid-1800’s. It was the site of the supersonic land speed record in 1997. The first amateur rocket launches above 50 miles (1996) and to space, above 100km/62 miles (2004) took place there. The annual “Burning Man” event takes place on the lakebed about 10 miles southwest of the crater outline.

I wasn’t even looking for this. I had been to the Black Rock Desert literally 30 times before putting the pieces together about the strange geology I had observed there over the years.