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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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300 comments

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

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

  3. I pickup some of my best rocks around wetumpka

  4. 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. There is a Historical Sign stating Crater Rim on 231.

    2. 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?

        3. Would love to take a tour. My family are in town all week staying in the area. Contact me if this is a possibility. Thanks so much.

        4. Sally, is the crater near Jasmine Hill Rd?

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

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

  8. Lisa Hiles
    Thought you might be interested in this.

    1. It’s cool isn’t it?

    1. Nope. Everyone is dead. Sorry.

  9. 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

  10. When did this impact occur?

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

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

    1. 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. Bout time the Little Ten won

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

  13. 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!

  14. Alabama is one amazing place.

  15. The crater is at least 83 million years old.

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

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

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

  16. © ” “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

  17. Darn, I hope everyone is OK.

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

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

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

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

  21. HAVE READ ABOUT THIS IN THE PAST

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Glo Folmar thought this might interest you

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

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

  27. Cool site for more on Alabama History.

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

  29. 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.

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

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

  31. Clint Johnston – true or fanciful ?

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

  33. Shld be diamonds there

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

    1. Bama fans would be claiming another championship…

    2. We have 21 and only claim 15… Soooo

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

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

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

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

  38. Never heard of this. Would like to see it.

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

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

  41. 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,,

  42. Spencer Thompson Jeff Thompson Tracy Worthington Thompson

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

  44. 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….

  45. Hiroshima < greatest nuclear device ever detonated.

  46. […] 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 […]

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

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

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

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

  51. 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.

  52. Alabama’s stadium is one second bigger

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

  54. “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’… 🙂

  55. 85000 years ago. Haaaahhhhhhaaaaaaa. The earth is only 6000 years old. Laughable. Evolutionist I presume.

  56. 85 mil. Sorry for the typo

  57. 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.

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

  59. Nicole Bridges Stephens

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

  61. Funny, I didn’t hear a thing.

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

  63. Alabama’s football stadium is bigger

  64. Been there, beautiful place.

  65. Sense of humor in these days is a valuable trait.

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

  67. Stadium size With or without Aubitron?

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

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

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

    2. A few million years too early.

  70. I think UAB needs its own asteroid

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

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

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

  74. 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. Mr. Neathery who discovered it was an Alabama grad.

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

    4. 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

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

    1. Us, too. On the Redland side.

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

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

  77. Why is the site not open ?

    1. Most of it is private property.

    2. 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.

  78. How many Rhode Islands is that?

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

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

  81. I’ve never heard of this. Interesting.

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

  83. 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!

    1. 83-85 million years ago.

    1. 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.

  84. Where did the asteroid itself go?

    1. Well below the surface. Really.

  85. Right about the time obama came president-??

  86. Kevin Simpson Kim Meeks Myers

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

    1. Lmao!!! I kno that’s right!!

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

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

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

    5. I just blew Coke out of my nose!!!

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

  89. Keitha Ryan Charles and Austin Charles

  90. Mike Creel, Julie McCune Creel

  91. Did this happen 13,000 years ago?

    1. 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. I saw no date of impact in the article.

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

    1. It’s in the city limits of Wetumpka not Slapout

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

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

    2. You don’t have to YELL…

    3. 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. 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. 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.

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

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

    2. Yes, thank you! Fascinating!

  95. Downtown Wetumpka is built inside the crater.

    1. Outside, on the west side rim.

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

  96. 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. Born and raised in Wetumpka and you taught me something!

  97. So that’s what happened in Wetumpka….

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

  99. 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. 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. March 4th. Call 567-5147 for reservations.

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

  101. Andrew Tiberiousnotthomas Knapp may find this interesting.

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

  103. Auburn like a asteroid. REALLY.

  104. When? I didn’t hear about it.

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

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

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

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

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

  108. Never knew this. Fascinating!

  109. 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 .

  110. Use to ride motorcycles alone there years ago.

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

  112. Did everyone TP Toomers Corner?

  113. Too bad it missed Auburn.

  114. 83 million years about? How can that be calculated?

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

  116. Wow. Learn something every day

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

  118. I read that story! I want to go!

  119. Mary Weaver-West was this when you arrived?

  120. 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.

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

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

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

  124. Was it an asteroid or a meteorite?

  125. It was a meteoroid until it entered the atmosphere, then it was briefly a meteor. On impact it became a meteorite.

  126. All I know is it is ashame the state can’t open the little park on 231 so people can’t see it.

    1. People with a real interest can see it now, and it’s still free. But it takes a little effort. That’s probably a good thing.

    2. Who do I need to contact to go there?

    3. I know I would like to see it!

  127. It’s kind of embarrassing that this article shows soil erosion as though it were some part of the effect of the meteor.

  128. Comparing it to the size of au football stadium means that it wasn’t a big asteroid

    1. You’ve never measured that stadium. I have. Sucker is big.

  129. When do they estimate it hit?

  130. […] has the nickname of “The City of Natural Beauty.” Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, […]

  131. I hate trying to read an article and having to work around all of the advertisements ! I quit !

  132. Look up Wetumpka Impact Crater to learn more.

  133. I grew up near there. Amazing history. Some think that it is the Foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Not the only deep crater in the vicinity. Martin Dam sits across the Tallapoosa River in a great gorge that is considered Foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

  134. So interesting. I still need to look at it up close.

  135. Ummmmm. Any idea roughly when it hit. “Ancient” kind of leaves the door wide open.

    1. Andrew Sobey Google Wetumpka Crater to learn the age.

    2. Barbara Gibbs , Just confused why they wouldn’t include that in this article. I am aware that all answers lie within google, though I prefer duckduckgo.com

    3. Barbara Gibbs a well written article should include, at the very least, basic information about the subject matter. :/

    4. Krystin Rowe or, give someone an opportunity to practice their research skills and gain further knowledge.

    5. Barbara Gibbs hahaha, lazy author. 🙂

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