3 large meteorite impacts that changed Kentucky's landscape permanently

Anita Durairaj

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

In the majority of cases, meteorites have hit Kentucky without forming an impact. In recent times, there have been 27 small meteorites that have hit Kentucky but these have been non-impact forming except for 3 meteorites.

According to the University of Kentucky Geological Survey, there are only three sites in Kentucky that have been formed from the impact of meteorites hitting the surface.

The impacts of these meteorites were so strong that they cracked the Earth's crust. When a meteorite hits the Earth, it forms a circular crater called an astrobleme. There are currently three Kentucky astroblemes.

The locations of these astroblemes are at:

  1. Jeptha Knob in Shelby County

The Jeptha Knob astrobleme is represented by a 3-mile diameter group of hills. It is reported to have been formed around 425 million years ago.

2. Site near Versailles in Woodford County

The site near Versailles is called the Versailles Structure. It is 1 mile in diameter and is part of a remnant of a meteorite crater. The site looks like a circular depression.

3. Site near Middlesboro in Bell County

The Middlesboro Structure is also a circular depression that is 4 miles in diameter. This structure is believed to be 300 million years old. The city of Middlesboro is said to occupy much of the crater. It is supposed to be the only American town built inside a meteorite crater.

In conclusion, these 3 ancient impacts have permanently altered the landscape of Kentucky and it is very possible that Kentucky could be hit with another meteorite impact in the future - hopefully not for another 100 million years.

Sources: UK Kentucky Geological Survey, Kentucky Geological Survey - Meteorites Fact Sheet

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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