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The Wetumpka Impact Crater is the only confirmed meteorite crater in Alabama, United States. It is located east of downtown Wetumpka in Elmore County, Alabama. The crater is 7.6 km in diameter and its age is estimated to be about 83 million years (Cretaceous) old based on fossils found in the youngest disturbed deposits, which belong to the Mooreville Chalk. The crater is well preserved, including the original impact rim and breccia, but exposures are few owing to plant and soil cover, and nearly all are on private land. Thornton L. Neathery discovered the Wetumpka Crater in 1969-70 during regional geological mapping and published the first article on the subject in 1976. However, conclusive evidence of impact origin was lacking until 1998 when David T. King, Jr. and colleagues discovered shocked quartz in a core drilled near the center of the structure. In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as an internationally recognized impact crater.

Each year, the city of Wetumpka sponsors annual ‘crater tours’ for the public in cooperation with local landowners and authorities. In March 2007, the Geological Society of America sponsored an international field forum for impact geologists led by David T. King, Jr. and Jens Ormö.

In May of 2007, Auburn University graduate student Reuben Johnson earned his master’s degree studying the impact crater. This work added to a growing body of evidence that Wetumpka’s crystalline “rim” may instead mark the edge of a deep central basin within what was originally a much larger impact crater that has since been almost completely eroded away.

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