METEOR CRATER: With the force of a multi-megaton bomb, a speeding nickel-iron Meteorite crashed to Earth nearly 50,000 years ago. Splashing over 175 million tons of rock, the resulting Crater is 4150 feet in diameter, 550 feet deep and 2.4 miles in circumference. Meteor crater is located 40 miles East of Flagstaff, Arizona.
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Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. Saguaro cacti, with their vertical stems and arms, are the prime feature of the Arizona Desert. They are by far the largest native cactus in the United States with the greatest individuals growing over 50 feet tall and weighing more than nine tons! It is estimated that many of these old saguaros are more than 200 years old. In Arizona and Sonora the saguaro dominates steep mountainsides, alluvial fans, and desert valleys, sometimes in extensive forests. The large white flowers bloom in May and open after sunset where their primary pollinator, bats, work the flowers for nectar. Native Americans not only eat the cactus fruits, but use the long ribs of saguaro carcasses for shelters, fences, and poles for gathering the fruit that can grow quite high on the plant.
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WUPATKI NATIONAL MONUMENT: Even though the builders moved on 700 years ago, the pueblos found throughout Wupatki National Monument have remained well preserved. Today’s warm arid climate and sparse vegetation make it hard to believe that a large agricultural community once spread across this volcanic plateau.
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