The town of Alamo, Nevada is located on the Great Basin Highway (U.S. Highway 93) about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. Alamo is a historic small town in the Pahranagat Valley, which is the home of a vast wildlife refuge and several lush green ranches. The Desert National Wildlife Range and the Pahranagat National Wildlife are next to Alamo, so this region is a wildlife photographers dream come true. This region has some of the most picturesque country in the Great Basin Desert and it is a good place to look for spring season wildflower blooms. What few Pahranagat visitors realize is that Alamo is also the home of one of the most explosive catastrophic events in ancient history. Just uphill from the town of Alamo is where the Alamo Bolide Impact took place millions of years ago!
Alamo Canyon Road is located in the middle of town, so it is easy to spot. It is a well maintained dirt road, so most vehicles should have no problem traversing this travel route. The canyon road goes on for many miles into BLM territory. There are plenty of scenic views and interesting rock formations to experience along the way. The road climbs through the mountains to higher elevations, so a wide variety of desert wildflowers can be seen in the spring season.
As I drove up the dirt road through Alamo Canyon, I really did not know what to look for and there were no roadside signs or markers. I relied on high school and college earth science lessons to identify what an ancient bolide impact area might look like after weathering over eons of time. Identifying evidence of an ancient bolide impact area was much easier than I thought it would be in Alamo Canyon, because there were so many gigantic examples of distorted rock strata all around.
Pressure and heat from the gigantic meteor impact explosion literally melted the earth surface in this area and the molten pieces of rock were cast through the air for many miles around. After the melted rock cooled, it fuzed and assumed a silhouette shape of whatever it landed upon way back when. After eons of erosion took place, the ancient metamorphic rock shrouds have been exposed. Many large metamorphosed rock shroud examples can be seen in the Alamo Bolide Impact Area.
The Alamo Bolide Impact took place over 300 million years ago and at that time, this entire region was covered with shallow ocean water. The exact bolide impact site location has never been determined, because the explosive meteor impact was so immense and powerful. All around the impact site, solid chunks of rock the size of buildings were displaced. The solid bedrock strata was cracked and splintered for many miles around. Debris from the Alamo Bolide Impact can be found over the entire southeastern Nevada region and the highest concentration definitely is in Alamo Canyon.
The metamorphosed rock shrouds do have a very eery look and the thousands of small metamorphic rock pocket caves on the hillsides definitely create an illusion of the “hills have eyes.” Alamo Canyon is filled with so many holes, that it looks like Swiss Cheese! On a gloomy overcast day, the creepy looking dark caves around the Alamo Bolide Impact Site actually start to look like the animated mouths of creatures that wait to gobble visitors up. The Alamo Bolide Impact Site certainly is one of the most intriguing mysterious places on earth!
The Alamo Bolide Impact Site may not be a prime time tourist destination, but it is a very interesting one none the less. This is especially true if you like to ponder over earth science or geology topics. Many of the interesting metamorphosed rock shapes offer no alternative explanation, other than something intergalactic in nature. For those who want to experience a vast ancient bolide impact disaster area, Alamo Canyon is the place to go!
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