Governor’s proclamation creates Wetumpka Impact Crater week

AUBURN – Auburn University Professor David King’s 2002 discovery of proof of cosmic impact at the Wetumpka Impact Crater was recently recognized by Gov. Bob Riley with a proclamation designating March 4-10 as Wetumpka Impact Crater Week.

The proclamation was presented March 9 during an international field forum hosted by King in Wetumpka, and attended by 41 scientists from 10 countries. In addition to the governor’s proclamation, the Wetumpka City Council and Elmore County Commission presented similar resolutions recognizing the influence of King’s discovery on the community.

As stated in the governor’s proclamation, the crater has brought Wetumpka to the forefront of the international geological society and has become an important teaching and tourism resource. King said that it is one of the best preserved marine impact craters on the earth.

The crater, located across U.S. 231 from downtown Wetumpka, is four miles in diameter. According to King, it is a marine impact crater created when a meteorite hit the area 83 million years ago when the area was covered by waters of the Gulf of Mexico. King estimates the meteorite to have been 1,100 feet in diameter.

Independent geologist Tony Neathery was also recognized during the Wetumpka field forum for his early work at the crater site.

Working with King to organize the forum was Jens Ormö of the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain. Sponsors were the City of Wetumpka, Elmore County Commission, Wetumpka Impact Crater Commission, the AU College of Sciences and Mathematics, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and local businesses.

(Contributed by Charles Martin.)

Contact: David King (334) 844-4882 (kingdat@auburn.edu), or
Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999 (marticd@auburn.edu)