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An asteroid the size of a stadium, with a blast 175,000 times greater than Hiroshima hit Wetumpka, Alabama

Did you know that an asteroid which was probably the size of the Auburn University football stadium, traveling at 12 miles per second, hit Wetumpka, Alabama at with a force about 30 times greater than the largest nuclear weapon ever detonate on Earth?


crater
Photo credit – CIty of Wetumpka

“Debris may have been thrown as far away as the present Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the few above-ground impact crater locations in the United states and one of only about six in the entire World.”

Crater rock photo by Vicki Lais – Birmingham Paleontological Society

BPS Scouting Trip

The crater structure was first noted in 1969 by a group of geologists from the Geological Survey of Alabama, which included team leader Thornton L. Neathery, and in 1976, they published a paper proposing that a meteor had created the feature. They called the the crater the Wetumpka astrobleme.

“Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama? Read Alabama Footprints to learn more.”

Conclusive evidence of impact origin was lacking until 1998 when David T. King, Jr.,and colleagues, including Neathery discovered shocked quartz in a core drilled near the center of the structure. In 2002, Auburn University researchers published evidence and established the site as an internationally recognized impact crater.

The Wetumpka impact was roughly 175,000 times greater than the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima in 1945. “It produced a huge earthquake, a tsunami, an atmospheric blast wave, and a cascade of falling rocks that would have blasted out of the crater bowl.”.  The impact totally devastated everything in a 25 mile radius.

Crater rock photo by Vicki Lais – Birmingham Paleontological Society

BPS Scouting Trip

According to King, “if the same asteroid landed here today, it would wipe out nearby Montgomery, the state capital, and everything else within a 25-mile radius.” and would have created an explosion as spectacular as in the movie “Deep Impact.

Located only a dozen miles north of Montgomery, in the City of Wetumpka, the ancient meteor crater at 5 miles wide is over twice as large as the famous Barringer Crater near Flagstaff Arizona.

Barringer Crater, Flagstaff, Arizona

Barringer meteor crater Arizona

All that remains of the meteoritic impact crater formed by the collision is a crescent-shaped ridge of hills rising up to 300 feet above the surrounding river plains. Bald Knob, the highest point on the rim, and other parts of the crater remnant are clearly visible to travelers entering Wetumpka on US Highway 231 and Alabama Highway 14.01-25-Wetumpka-crater

The City of Wetumpka has yearly tours of the “Crater Walks” in March.

Image from Google maps
Image from Google maps

Auburn University has established a fund to help advance studies of the Wetumpka impact crater called the ‘Wetumpka Impact Crater Fund’

SOURCES

  1. CNN.COM
  2. Encyclopedia of Alabama
  3. Wetumpka Meteor crater
  4. Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce

 

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An asteroid the size of Auburn Football stadium & 30 times greater than Hiroshima hit Wetumpka, Alabama

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
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273 comments

  1. Jacob Lusk

    I lived right by there for yrs n never even knew that…

  2. Dave Deane

    An asteroid hit Jordan-Hare? I knew Harvey Updike was an alien?

  3. Russell Williams

    I pickup some of my best rocks around wetumpka

  4. Jan Cowart Potter

    I did know this – but whatever you do, don’t try to find it – there is no actual roadside sign or anything. It was open once a year, but I can’t tell that it is now.

    1. Beth Hammond

      There is a Historical Sign stating Crater Rim on 231.

    2. Jan Cowart Potter

      You cannot apparently visit or see anything I’m told. My family tried to go last year and couldn’t get anywhere near it.

      1. Come see me. My house is in the middle of the crater and the “cliffs” in the picture are down the road. My husband has led the crater tours and can take you on a private one!

        1. I would love for my family to take a tour and see the crater.

          Thank you,

          Kim
          Trussville, Alabama

        2. how come they make a big stink abt the AZ one, and there’s nothing regarding this one? I’m a geology hobbyist and would love to see a scientific show, maybe by NatGeo, on this one. sure, it’s not “perfect” like the AZ one is, but I think it’s just as interesting, if not more so. ring their bell and see if NatGeo would do a show on it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s fascinated but can’t visit (for me it’s distance and poor health that keeps me home) . is that a massive concentration of white quartz at 3 o’clock from center of the picture?

  5. Louella Halifax Scott

    I live across the road from the crater and it can’t be seen from the road. You have to walk through a field and climb a hill to get to it. It is beautiful and amazing. My grandkids loved it

  6. Wait….

    Football field = 300 feet… if you divide 300 by 10, you get 30. 30 is the multiple of how big the impact was from this asteroid to the nuke that hit Hiroshima.

    If you divide 30 by 10, you get 3….

    Triangles have 3 points… The Illuminati use triangles.

    ILLUMINATI ASTEROID WEAPONS CONFIRMED.

  7. Jonathan Harris

    Tony Martin never realized you lived in world famous wetumpka instead of plain ‘ol wetumpka.

    1. Tony Martin

      You just never know do you? Explains a lot though.

  8. Vanessa Brown

    Lisa Hiles
    Thought you might be interested in this.

    1. Lisa Hiles

      It’s cool isn’t it?

  9. Jason Compton

    I hope everyone is OK!

    1. Matt Shabani

      Nope. Everyone is dead. Sorry.

  10. Charlotte Marlow McEwen

    Any idea the time in history of this event?

    1. It was around 83 million years ago. Click on this link to read more about the event on the website.
      http://alabamapioneers.com/wetumpka-meteor/#sthash.38xeoKuJ.dpbs

  11. Rooney Ackerman

    When did this impact occur?

  12. Stephanie Ford Venable

    Joe is originally from Wetumpka. I read the article, but did not notice any comment about what year scientists believe the asteroid hit.

  13. William Geddes

    Wow! Good thing it wasn’t the size of the Ohio State football stadium, there might not be an Alabama left!

    1. David Marlow

      Good thing it wasn’t the size of an Ohio State fan’s head or ego, or there wouldn’t be an Earth left.

    2. Brannon Smalley

      Bout time the Little Ten won

    3. Donna Wyatt Spearman

      Don’t you just love how all these Ohio fans are all up in the middle of everything pertaining to Alabama !! ROLL TIDE ROLL !!!

  14. Linda Jean Miller Kocisek

    did not know this! I visited the meteor crater in Arizona…they have made it a rather fascinating tourist mecca. How could not I not know about this one in Alabama!

  15. Alabama is one amazing place.

  16. David Salmon

    The crater is at least 83 million years old.

    1. Rick Bozeman

      Only of you believe in evolution is it 83 million years old.

    2. David Salmon

      ???? What does evolution have to do with a meteor crater?

    3. Casey Lindley

      If you don’t believe in evolution then the earth want around 83 million years ago. Which means it couldn’t be 83 million years old. Some people don’t science very well.

    4. Leigh Anne Cook White

      Evolutionists trust that it’s 83 million years old. Creationists trust that it’s not *quite* that old. Since neither were there to observe when, we both begin with basic assumptions.

    5. Patrick Watson

      lol: everybody knows that the earth is only 3000 years old. Duh

  17. Miner Mike Finlay

    © ” “Debris may have been thrown as far away as the present Gulf of Mexico.”” Ejecti landed closer than you know,,,right below Auburn. Tekties have been found in streams and rivers within 30 miles of Auburn by myself with grab samples of the ejecti from that known fall. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Two_tektites.JPG/440px-Two_tektites.JPG

  18. John Matthews

    Darn, I hope everyone is OK.

  19. Leisha Grayson Carr

    Pam GC have y’all seen this yet? Up close?

  20. Kristy Shubert Lawson

    Brooke Rollins Shubert we need to take the kids to see this.

    1. Jerri Taylor

      There is a Crater Walk every February, so you can see it soon. If you go on the walk, you will get to visit vantage points on private property, unavailable otherwise.

    2. Kristy Shubert Lawson

      Jerri Taylor is there a webpage I can go to for more info on the Crater Walk??

  21. Pam Guthrie

    I know of this. I lived in Montgomery for some time and it is an awesome site.

  22. Sandra Culwell

    HAVE READ ABOUT THIS IN THE PAST

  23. Rick Bozeman

    Fascinating article;never heard of this as many times as I’ve been in and around Wetumpka. Jasmine Hill Rd. even is on the rim of the crater going by the map.

  24. Kristilia Pruett Swain

    Science is not exact as far as timelines but then the Bible is not exact about dates and timelines either and if eternity is a blink of an eye to God why argue small details it could be 83 million years old we do not know how long ago God created everything.

  25. Preston Albritton

    Glo Folmar thought this might interest you

  26. Donald Garnto

    It can be seen rather clearly using Google Earth. It is the local are called Blue Ridge.

  27. John Matthews

    Yep, I was there when it happened. It might be what’s wrong now and why I don’t hear as well. Just sayin,

  28. Donna Seay

    Cool site for more on Alabama History.

  29. Charley Turner

    The size of auburn football field ? Not any football field , but auburns ? Thought they all were 100 yards .

  30. Steven Daniel

    Trish and I, on a vacation, went over to Wetumpka and followed around the edges of the astrobleme as far as We could. It is very pronounced.

  31. Elizabeth Clingan

    Curt Inthehouse don’t you wish we could go digging here

    1. Elizabeth Clingan

      Read the story it’s where an asteroid hit in wetumpka I think in 1969

  32. Maury D. Gaston

    Clint Johnston – true or fanciful ?

  33. Jerri Taylor

    Yes, and I live on the rim of the Wetumpka Impact Crater!

  34. Mary Venable

    Hey, I knew that one.

  35. Tim James

    Shld be diamonds there

  36. Bob Doll

    Good thing it wasn’t as big as Bryant Denny or it might have done real damage!

    1. George E Williams Jr.

      Bama fans would be claiming another championship…

    2. Bob Doll

      We have 21 and only claim 15… Soooo

    3. Darrin B. Hogeland

      And Auburn fans would still be living in the cold shadows of The Alabama Crimson Tide and wishing they had more titles to claim!

  37. Jd Hunter

    What up With The AUBURNT Reference???? Is that where cows could from???

  38. Mike Harvell

    Erin Blanton Harvell this is what I’ve been telling you about for years.

  39. Charles Lenn

    I think it was 82 million but what’s a million years difference?!

  40. Lomax Lunsford

    Never heard of this. Would like to see it.

  41. T.l. Dennis

    Yeah,we got out of school early the day this thing hit Wetumpka.

  42. Tom Saunders Cjf

    I lived on jasmine hill rd back in the 80’s

  43. Steve Wagnon

    wow,,ive always been interested in geology,in reece where i live,i find lots of fosils in a dry creek bed,proving thay this was all under the ocean at one time,would love to know more about it,,

  44. John Wesley

    Spencer Thompson Jeff Thompson Tracy Worthington Thompson

  45. Susan Goff

    Did you know a museum about the asteroid hit is opening Feb. 20Th?

  46. Mike Johnston

    I am not sure I understand why this is news to “Alabamians”…my brother told me about this not long after my family moved here in 1975….strange….

  47. Randall Knapp

    Hiroshima < greatest nuclear device ever detonated.

  48. […] research indicates that the Wetumpka asteroid hit which hit in Alabama 83 million years ago would have landed in a shallow sea, that covered most […]

  49. Jack Riley

    Thanks for posting Don! It was an amazing discovery and not widely publicized outside the geology community.

  50. Dean Coe

    Wasn’t very big.

  51. Billy W Thompson

    Why not the size of Alabama’s football stadium? Lol

  52. Matthew Cole Hunsinger

    An even better reason to get back to Prattville. Dusty Hunsinger.

  53. ,but the song is not “A Star Fell On Alabama”.

  54. David Logan

    If you ever get a chance to drive through Rockford, Al. you can see what I believe is evidence. There are big boulders laying around with no related looking landscape. It looks like they were thrown up there. Rockford is about 30 miles north of Wetumpka.

  55. James Bonner

    Alabama’s stadium is one second bigger

  56. Kim Bullock

    How do you find out if something you found is a part of a meteorite? Found on Lake Martin

  57. Rob Gaston

    “All that remains of the meteoritic impact crater formed by the collision is a crescent-shaped ridge of hills rising up to 300 feet above the surrounding river plains. – See more at: http://alabamapioneers.com/wetumpka-meteor/#sthash.DWwaikZC.dpuf” – This says that essentially the crater is 300 ft deep. So, if the initial meteor strike didn’t get you, the fall would. Just saying’… 🙂

  58. 85000 years ago. Haaaahhhhhhaaaaaaa. The earth is only 6000 years old. Laughable. Evolutionist I presume.

  59. 85 mil. Sorry for the typo

  60. If we could get another one to land about 30 miles west of this one we would be doing the Great State of Alabama a huge favor. Roll Tide.

  61. John Sessions

    I just wish it would hit Auburn football stadium. (after hours) RTR!

    1. Justin Feeney

      Typical bama class.

  62. Wayne Morrison

    Nicole Bridges Stephens

  63. Bob Waite

    Shame on u John Sessions! I would not wish that on Alabama stadium!

  64. Bob Mckinney

    Funny, I didn’t hear a thing.

  65. Rex Morningside

    He just doesn’t want to worry about Auburn whooping up on some Bama. You can’t blame him for that.

  66. Christopher M DiGrazia

    Alabama’s football stadium is bigger

  67. Brett Smith

    Been there, beautiful place.

  68. John Sessions

    Sense of humor in these days is a valuable trait.

  69. Sam Calhoun

    So for those of us not well versed in the size of various SEC football stadiums, how big was it in decimeters?

    1. Chris Barber

      1.5 Rhode island’s

  70. Stadium size With or without Aubitron?

  71. Jalon Turner

    Someone let me know when comedy hour starts and people trolling looking for laughs are gone.

  72. Nicole Bridges Stephens

    The Impact Center Site is across the street from me. Pretty interesting. I think we live actually on the hills of the impact site.

    1. Earl Chastain

      Do you ever find pieces of the meteorite? I understand they are very valuable.

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      Millions of years ago. Click on picture to see the whole story.

    2. Tim Krasnansky

      A few million years too early.

  73. Rickey Dodd

    I think UAB needs its own asteroid

  74. My cousin Bill Skinner and I walk through this crater when we teenagers. We talked about something like that must have caused that crater.

  75. […] An asteroid the size of Auburn Football stadium & 30 times greater than Hiroshima hit Wetumpka, … […]

  76. Hollis Mckinley

    I have been told that it threw debris into the gulf of mexico.

  77. Billy W Thompson

    So it was the size of Auburns football stadium, hmm good thing it wasn’t Bama’s stadium. It would have been 15 times more powerful lol RTR

    1. Kay Fochtmann Mickel

      Mr. Neathery who discovered it was an Alabama grad.

    2. James Vann

      We would have to have Cam catch it. Odds are 28-27 he could do it….Billy, Billy, just read this interesting article…shame on me, got caught up in your bloviating. WDE

    3. Bruce Venable

      When did Bryant Denny expand to 1,311,765 seats?

    4. Billy W Thompson

      I’m sorry, I was mistakenly thinking of national champs 15-2 I should have said 7.5 more times
      Btw I was just joking don’t take this so seriously

  78. Barbara Thompson

    Would love to see this !

  79. Shay Conway

    We live on the ridge of that thing. It is beautiful!

    1. Dan McGinty

      Us, too. On the Redland side.

  80. R Daniel Proctor

    Isn’t Wetumpka the Muskogee word for “DUCK!”?

    1. Ian Kluft

      Heh. Yeah, that was the 10th confirmed impact site I’ve visited.

  81. Jennie Jolly

    Why is the site not open ?

    1. Dan McGinty

      Most of it is private property.

    2. Jennie Jolly

      I have seen the gates when I travel that way. Next time I will stop and see if they have any hours posted. Thanks for the info Dan.

  82. Chris Barber

    How many Rhode Islands is that?

  83. Stephen Greg Legat

    It is the only crater on Earth like it: the asteroid hit in the shallow sea, and it is now on land.

  84. Carolyn Thornblom Hierholzer

    WOW! Didn’t know! Fascinating!

  85. Gayla Plott

    Have never heard about this & have lived in Bham area all my life. Visited the one in AZ. It is amazing.

  86. Harry Bates

    I’ve never heard of this. Interesting.

  87. Tim May

    That’s what killed my great, great, great, great, great, great. ……great granddaddy’s dinosaur

  88. Wes Holman

    If looking at sattelite picture of Al. & Ms. Looks to me like one slid in from northeast, cut the Tenn. river out,, stopped at Guntersville, and banked up a berm from upper Miss. circling down thru middle Alabama! just have always noticed this!

  89. Allen Cheek

    Wow! How about that!

    1. Dan McGinty

      83-85 million years ago.

    1. Dan McGinty

      If you saw all of the huge plates of sedimentary rock that are reposing at unusually steep angles, you might possibly think that was evidence of a big chunk of space debris hitting the earth a while back and causing a crater.

  90. Stacey Kopp

    Where did the asteroid itself go?

    1. Dan McGinty

      Well below the surface. Really.

  91. Curtis Chappell

    Right about the time obama came president-??

  92. Monica Simpson

    Kevin Simpson Kim Meeks Myers

  93. Shannon Dunn

    Jesika McClellan….I’m just glad it didn’t take out the casino lmao

    1. Jesika McClellan

      Lmao!!! I kno that’s right!!

    2. Shannon Dunn

      It was a long time ago…I didn’t read that part at first lmao

    3. Jesika McClellan

      Lmao! I did the same thing! I was freaking out then I kept reading lol!

    4. Shannon Dunn

      Hell- maybe it made the giant hole so the casino could be built bwhahaha

    5. Kim Meeks Myers

      I just blew Coke out of my nose!!!

  94. […] An asteroid the size of Auburn Football stadium & 30 times greater than Hiroshima hit Wetumpka, … […]

  95. Sharon Haynie Charles

    Keitha Ryan Charles and Austin Charles

  96. Pam Creel Freeman

    Mike Creel, Julie McCune Creel

  97. Elizabeth Anne

    Did this happen 13,000 years ago?

    1. Elizabeth Anne

      I ask only because the us was hit in various places 13,000 years ago by a meteor that broke apart. It caused a tsunami off the Georgia Coast. Was wondering if this was part of that same event. Why lol, Kermit Lollar?

    2. Elizabeth Anne

      I saw no date of impact in the article.

    3. Elizabeth Anne

      Thank you , Gene Hocutt.

  98. Tommy Richardson

    That particular area, I believe, is now called Slapout, Alabama, home of where the star fell

    1. Sylvia Wingard

      It’s in the city limits of Wetumpka not Slapout

  99. Donald Roy Chappell

    SOUNDS LIKE A BUNCH OF DEMOCRATES TALKING;;BET ITS THE SAME PEOPLE THAT CAN TELL YOU WHAT SOMETHING LOOKED LIKE 50 MILLIONS AGO

    1. Linda Spring Delahay

      You mean scientists, right? And you spelled democrats incorrectly. And cap locks, what’s with that? Do you not understand capitalization rules?

    2. Donna Heald

      You don’t have to YELL…

    3. Kelli Bosarge

      Sounds like somebody’s lacking an education. You know there’s a caps lock button on your device. Hard to believe, but it’s not a partisan conspiracy either. Give it a little nudge sometime.

    4. Donald Roy Chappell

      Linda Spring Delahay I UNDERSTAND THAT ITS MY COMPUTER AND KEYBOARD AND I CAN USE IT ANYWAY I PLEASE;;LIKE I SAID BUNCH OF DEMOCRATS TELLING OTHERS WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN;T DO

    5. Clay Bryan

      Haha wow, just wow. “DEMOCRATES” isn’t a word and sounds like you don’t understand science. I don’t understand so it can’t be true!!! You’re probably still on the fence about the evil “DEMOCRATES” conspiracy on gravity or that the earth isn’t flat. How about the moon landing? Haha and the word you’re looking for is scientists not “DEMOCRATES.” Which compared to today’s republicans just about all democrats could be considered one. You’re pretty good proof of that.

  100. David O

    The article doesn’t mention a time period. When did this occur?

    1. Jamey Ainsworth

      Toward the end of the Cretaceous period…near the beginning of the Paleogene period. That help any?

    2. David O

      Yes, thank you! Fascinating!

  101. Gene Hocutt

    Downtown Wetumpka is built inside the crater.

    1. Lee Lindsay

      Outside, on the west side rim.

    2. Gene Hocutt

      Not according to the Chamber of Commerce. While in their office, I asked “Where is the crater?” They said, “You’re standing in it.”

  102. Brian Chatham

    It happened about 83 million years ago. Back then, this area was a shallow sea, estimated to be about 100 feet deep. Most of Alabama was under sea water during the age of the dinosaurs. That’s why the only fossils found in Alabama are marine ones. Goat Hill, where the Capitol sits, was a barrier island then.

    1. Chase Roberts

      Born and raised in Wetumpka and you taught me something!

  103. John Patterson

    So that’s what happened in Wetumpka….

  104. Richard Jones

    except it wasnt Wetumpka then, that is why there is a large astroblem there

  105. Tonja Young

    Is this located on public or private lands? If private, is there an organization which provides tours or hikes? I would love to visit this site! Thanks!

    1. Toni Lavis Tenters

      It’s private land. They only do tours once a year. It’s planned through city of Wetumpka and details are on their website http://www.elmoreautauganews.com/single-post/2017/02/02/Wetumpka-Crater-Lecture-Tours-set-for-March-2-4-Public-invited

    2. Lynn Gilliland Weldon

      March 4th. Call 567-5147 for reservations.

  106. Robert Battistella

    Yes, you can still see the rim of the crater.

  107. Norman Knapp

    Andrew Tiberiousnotthomas Knapp may find this interesting.

  108. Penny Mullican Knight

    My daughter lives there they have a guided tour one time a year that you can go and look and see where it hit.

  109. John Evans

    Auburn like a asteroid. REALLY.

  110. Jenny Knott

    When? I didn’t hear about it.

  111. Donna Heald

    So thats where the song came from? Never knew that.

    1. Debbie Morgan Williams

      The song came from another time.

      The title appears to have been borrowed from the title of the 1934 book of the same name by Carl Carmer.[1] It refers to a spectacular occurrence of the Leonid meteor shower that had been observed in Alabama in November 1833, “the night the stars fell.”[2] As reported by the Florence Gazette: “[There were] thousands of luminous bodies shooting across the firmament in every direction. There was little wind and not a trace of clouds, and the meteors succeeded each other in quick succession.”

    2. Alabama Pioneers

      Here is a story about the Stars falling on Alabama and the song. http://alabamapioneers.com/stars-fell-on-alabama/

  112. Bob Doll

    If the asteroid would’ve held over 100K then it would’ve really done some damage.

  113. Talli Sizemore

    Aunt D Rosie have you and Aunt H Hallie been here before?

    1. Rosie Lewis

      Oh yes…it’s just right up the road…want to go?

  114. Rusty Torbett

    Never knew this. Fascinating!

  115. Michael Cat Kines

    Saw this on PBS years ago Vulcan Materials geologists found this . They noticed certain rocks and minerals that where supposed to be below ground were on top . They said the crater was about 1000 yards around .

  116. Mike McDuffee

    Use to ride motorcycles alone there years ago.

  117. Kay Fochtmann Mickel

    Leanne Neathery Sauers I love seeing this story and knowing your dad was so instrumental in this process of discovery.

  118. Jim Russell

    Did everyone TP Toomers Corner?

  119. Dave McPherson

    Too bad it missed Auburn.

  120. Carolyn Price

    83 million years about? How can that be calculated?

  121. Tommy Mack Sr.

    To this day the effects linger. The trees on toomers corner still will not grow.

  122. Johnny Bowen

    Wow. Learn something every day

  123. Stephen Hamm

    That’s one reason I moved here. I heard they never strike in the same place twice.

  124. Dona Smith

    I read that story! I want to go!

  125. Jack White

    Mary Weaver-West was this when you arrived?

  126. Bill Roberts

    And in the early 199’0s a meteor hit not too far away where the Wetumpka City ball fields now are rattled my house. Kinda makes you wonder about that whole what goes around comes around thing.

  127. Would folks please stop asking, When did this occur? ! It occurred way before there were ‘years’ on a calendar! NO it was not 1969!!

  128. I think someone who owns the land should donate that area to the State to develop a park. Right?

  129. I wonder what the course of the river was before the impact?

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