No Destination: Middlesboro's Meteorite

A town within the crater: Middlesboro, Ky.
About three hundred million years ago, a large meteor struck what is now southeastern Kentucky. The impact created a large, three-mile wide crater. Skip forward to about 120 years ago and the incorporation of the Kentucky community of Middlesborough (also spelled Middlesboro) which is built within the crater. According to the historic marker commemorating the town's geology, the area has been "Designated by the Kentucky Society of Professional Geologists as a Distinguished Geological Site. Middlesboro is one of only a few cities on the North American Continent located in the basin of a meteorite impact structure."

The picture above shows the high wall of the crater. Standing in Middlesboro, this crater wall is a 360-degree panoramic. Until the 1960s and research by the USGS, locals thought the unique topography was caused by tectonic shifting rather than the 1,500 foot in diameter that once struck the area.

The site is one of three known astroblemes in the Commonwealth (the others are in Shelby and Woodford counties). [*]