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The Wetumpka asteroid impact structure in Alabama, U.S.A


The Wetumpka asteroid impact structure in Alabama, U.S.A



Annual Meeting Expanded Abstracts - American Association of Petroleum Geologists 1998



The Wetumpka impact crater in Alabama is a 6.5 km-diameter complex crater that likely formed during early Campanian (81.5+ or -1.5 Ma). Its surficial rocks contain level 0 through 2 shock features. Wetumpka's horseshoe-shaped crater rim and associated interior northeast-trending aeromagnetic and gravity anomalies are evidence of an oblique impact by a cosmic object arriving upon a low-angle, northeast-to-southwest trajectory. Wetumpka's impact probably occurred in 0 to 150 m of water and 0 to 50 km offshore from a barrier-island coastline. Wetumpka's complex crater had an estimated original rim height of 210 to 360 m, and the center may have experienced an estimated 59 m of stratigraphic uplift resulting from impact. The impactor, a stony and (or) iron asteroid, is estimated to have been about 350 m in diameter. When the asteroid vaporized upon impact, energy equivalent to between 10 (super 2) and 10 (super 3) MT of TNT (or between 4.2X10 (super 24) and 4.2X10 (super 25) erg) was released. A 3.3 to 4.2 km-diameter transient crater opened within approximately 11.5 sec. Wetumpka's impact-crater melange, approximately 122 m thick, was likely formed by mass movement from the transient crater rim commencing after the first 18 to 21 sec.

Accession: 020283520

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Related references

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