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Other photograph: Geology on a Digital elevation model. View from south to north.

Geology of central uplift is:

Orange peak, yellow and dark pink areas at center are Lower to middle Ordovician Limestone. This material
was thrust upwards a distance as much as 800m+/-. Light Pink through to orange are Silurian, Devonian and
Mississippian strata. Middle Ordovician Strata and above are flanking a ring structure (seen as a topographinc
Historical crater part of local landscape
Wells Creek Crater near TVA plant is one of nation's largest
Mar. 28, 2010

The Wells Creek Crater can easily be observed from the intersection of TN 149 and Old SR 149 at Cumberland
City. The north rim of the crater lies directly in front of you and it curves along the horizon from your left to the
right and visually gives you an indication of the size of the crater. / Owen Schroeder/The Leaf-Chronicle
Written by
The Leaf-Chronicle
About 200 million years ago, a large meteorite came hurtling through the darkness of outer space heading for a
direct impact with planet Earth at the confluence of what would later become known as Houston, Stewart and
Montgomery Counties in the state of Tennessee.
The meteorite was nearly 1,000 feet in diameter, weighed more than 100 million tons and was traveling in
excess of 36,000 miles per hour when it impacted with the Earth exploding with the force of a 1,000 megaton
The resulting impact crater was 2,000 feet deep and nearly eight miles across.
The huge hole in the Earth's surface would be named the Wells Creek Crater and it is one of the most studied
impact craters in the world.

During the Earth's history, countless meteorites have impacted with the planet and many of them left behind
scars that range from small pits to huge craters that are hundreds of miles across.
Most of these scars have been eroded by time, but at least 174 remain and they are listed in the Earth Impact
Data Base. The United States has 26 impact craters in the data base, including two in Tennessee (although other
listings have three meteorite craters in the state).
Wells Creek Crater ranks as the ninth largest impact crater in the United States and 62nd place on the EIDB.
The crater was first discovered by Indian tribes about 10,000 years ago when they settled into the area. The low
hill in the center of the crater offered an excellent place to camp and live, while the surrounding crater rim
provided defensive protection from other marauding tribes.
The Indians found a heaven in the basin created by the meteorite impact. Wild game was plentiful and clear
springs flowed through the area while dense flint was available nearby for arrow and spear points.
When the first white settlers moved into the area, they were impressed by the same features that lured the
Indians. The soil was fertile and a highly agricultural society developed in the community.
The fact that the settlers were living in an impact crater became known in the 1860s when a railroad was being
built from Clarksville to the West. While blasting out the rock for the rail bed, a geologist found strange rock
formations near Cumberland City that suggested a violent impact had occurred in the area.
Today, the Cumberland River and Wells Creek join at the north wall of the crater and the town of Cumberland
City, along with the TVA Cumberland City Stream Plant, sit in the remains of the impact crater.
The Wells Creek Crater produces the finest shatter cones in the world and some of them are on display in the
Rock & Ore Collection at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Scatter cones are rocks that have a distinctively patterned structure that was formed by a large impacting object.
The rocks have close-spaced grooves that radiate outward from their apex which points toward the impact area.
These unique rocks are considered sound fossils that have recorded the sound wave of a large object from outer
space announcing its arrival on Planet Earth.
The crater is one of most popular sites in Tennessee on the Google web site "Sightseeing with Google Satellite
Maps", ranking along with Graceland, Dollywood, the Tennessee Aquarium and the Jack Daniels Distillery.
If you want to take a trip back in time, the Wells Creek Crater can easily be observed by taking route TN 149
from Clarksville to Erin. As you top the hill at the intersection of TN 149 and Old SR 149, the north rim of the
crater lies directly in front of you. It will curve around the horizon from your left to the right and visually give
you an indication of the size of the crater.
Turn right onto Old SR 149 to Cumberland City, then turn left onto TN 233 at the Steam Plant and you will
drive across the floor of the crater.