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Jeptha's Knob and other Craters

    Perhaps 425 millions ago a meteorite nearly a half a mile in diameter slammed into the earth between present day cities of Shelbyville and Frankfort, Kentucky. The giant interplanetary traveler was traveling at an estimated speed of 10 miles per second. That is roughly 36,000 miles per hour! Needless to say, something the size of a small Kentucky town hitting the earth at such a speed was bound to leave an impact and that it did.
Jeptha's Knob near Clay Village in Shelby county Ky
    Perhaps some of you from Kentucky while traveling between Lexington and Louisville on I-64 have noticed the lone hill structure in the vast open flat landscape of the region. The hill is called Jeptha's Knob and is what is left of the ancient meteorite impact. What is now observable is not the typical crater that is most familiar such as on the moon or the famous Arizona crater. What you see actually represents the bottom, center of the crater. You see, geologist tell us that when the meteorite hit the earth the impact is so forceful that he causes the rock strata below to rebound upward and shatter. Over time the familiar surface crater has eroded away leaving only the more dense rebound materials that were once below the surface of the landscape and are still there today in the surrounding countryside.  The Kentucky Geological Survey provide a very clear explanation of this effect here.  You can easily see the circular impact area on the geological map. This is Jeptha's Knob. For years geologists thought the unusual land uplift in the otherwise flat region was the result of volcanic activity. A historical marker nearby claimed as much. In recent times geologists have come to understand the results of an impact meteorite and have completely revised the cause of the structure. The marker is no longer in place.



    A larger and more famous meteorite impact site is located in extreme southeastern Kentucky.  The town of Middlesboro, Kentucky is built precisely in the center of crater created by the impact of a meteorite over a half mile in diameter. It was thought to have landed about 300 million years ago. The crater is over four miles in diameter. Little visible evidence is left today but there is some of the outer crater wall still detectable from aerial  views.  The Middlesboro crater is unique in all the world in the fact it is the only known impact crater that coal has been mined.
View of Middlesboro impact crater
    When you drive down into the noticeable flat plain that most of the town is situated you are in the bottom of the ancient meteorite crater. It is pretty obvious too, since a land area this broad and flat is rare to say the least in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky.
     Though there have been several reported meteorite impacts with some recovered in Kentucky none compare to these large impacts from ancient times which include one more near Versailles, Kentucky. Here we find yet another impact site that for years was mistaken to be the remnants of a large sinkhole, something not uncommon in the central Kentucky region. As it turns out this is the ancient remains of another meteorite impact similar to Jeptha's Knob.
     Not doubt there have been others that have long ago succumbed to erosion and time. However, we do have evidence that we have been hit before and it has been a long time.
    What if one of those ancient meteorites contained precious metals such as say, oh, perhaps silver. Suppose it impacted the earth in some remote place and suppose our legendary John Swift happened to find that heavenly treasure. Of course, there is no evidence what so ever that has happened or even could happen. It does prove however, that pure sedimentary geological activity is not all that has happened in the amazing landscape we call Kentucky.


  We are now in the fourth year of this blog. There have been thousands of visits to the blog site from around the world. I appreciate very much the valuable time that everyone took to visit and look at this blog site. I am especially grateful to those that subscribe and follow. 
   As I have noted many times before, I started this blog site to promote my now not so recent book entitled 'Swift." My aim was and has been to connect real places and subjects related to the book and special history of Kentucky. As time progressed I found myself covering a lot of interesting topics.
     Keeping a blog up and running requires a lot of time and work as any of you know that maintain your own blog site. It is enjoyable and keeps me constantly searching for new adventures and ideas around the state. In recent months the blog seems to have done little to generate book sales, which after all, was my main objective.
   With that in mind I plan to take a break from the regularly scheduled bi-monthly posts. Instead, for the time being I will randomly post articles. This will be the last post for a time. Besides this blog I am involved with another one called B and E's Bee's that is associated with our excellent honey we sell. 
    This blog site will remain live and active. With hundreds of visits each week the blog is popular, especially with treasure hunters. I will respond to comments and will post in the future as well as monitor the site.
     With all that said this entry will mark the last one as I go on break from posting for now.  Please share the contents of this blog to others. Thank you for visiting. Oh, the book is still available at most outlets.



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