The city of Middlesboro is built within the crater
|Diameter||6 kilometers (3.7 mi)|
|Location||Bell County, Kentucky, United States|
|Access||U.S. Route 25E|
The crater is approximately 3 miles (about 5 km) in diameter and its age is estimated to be less than 300 million years (Permian).
The Middlesboro crater is located in the Appalachian Mountains, between the Cumberland Mountains and Pine Mountain. It forms part of the string of geological features that made the Cumberland Gap a critical westward passage during the settlement of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The town of Middlesboro, built in the crater, was established in 1886 to exploit iron and coal deposits,[dead link] although the town's founder, Alexander A. Arthur, apparently did not know of the crater's extraterrestrial origin. K. J. Englund and J. B. Roen, working for the U. S. Geological Survey, identified the impact basin in 1962. While coal mining is still the town's primary economic driver, local leaders hope to turn the crater into a tourist destination. In 2003, the Kentucky Society of Professional Geologists designated the area a Distinguished Geologic Site, and the construction of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel makes the town a convenient source of supplies for visitors to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
- "Barringer". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- "Middlesboro". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- [dead link]
- K. A. Milam, J. Evenick, and B. Deane eds. "Field Guide to the Middlesboro and Flynn Creek Impact Structures". Impact Field Studies Group. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- Associated Press (2003-09-20). "Kentucky town sees a future in its crater". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
- Kortenkamp, Steve (Summer 2004). "Impact at Cumberland Gap: Where Natural and National History Collide". PSI Newsletter 5 (2): 1–2.