Did You Know There’s a City in Kentucky That’s Build Inside a Meteorite Crater?
This is pretty cool and, though it sounds a bit extraterrestrial, it's 100% true. There's a city here in Kentucky that's built inside of a crater that was caused by a meteorite that scientists believe hit the Earth approximately 300 million years ago.
Now, I will be completely honest with you. I have lived in Kentucky much of my life and I never knew this until this week. And, I think it's fascinating.
Kentucky's crater, known as the Middlesboro crater, has a diameter of three miles and is part of the Cumberland Gap.
If you were raised in Kentucky, you're likely quite familiar with the name Daniel Boone. It was Daniel Boone, around 1769, who blazed a trail through that area. That trail became known as The Wilderness Road and it provided settlers a way to venture west.
Scientists believe the meteorite that created the Middlesboro crater measured approximately 100 meters. Don't worry. I did the conversion for you. That's about 328 feet. That's enormous and you can tell by looking at photos of the city that occupies that space now, that the big rock's impact was massive.
But, here's the crazy thing about it. Though the cosmic collision took place roughly 300 million years ago, we didn't learn about it until 1966- 58 years ago. That's when Robert Dietz, a geophysicist, discovered shatter cones in the sandstone. Shatter cones are pretty much what they sound like. It's a pattern that's created during a major impact event like the crater that pummeled Kentucky.
I've never visited Middlesboro, but it has a pretty interesting history. Well, clearly. It sits where a giant meteorite crashed to the Earth. However, it's also had a couple of cool nicknames over the last century.
According to Wikipedia, Middlesboro, back in the 1930s, became known as "Little Las Vegas". In the 50s, it became known for the arts and earned the nickname the "Athens of the Mountains." My goodness! What a history this small Kentucky town has enjoyed.
Today, Middlesboro owns and celebrates its distinction as a crater city. It was featured on History Channel's series How States Got Their Shapes and was also profiled by the BBC's show called Wonders of the Solar Systems.