Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Wells Creek Basin

Marker ID: THC 3E 20
Location: on Tennessee 149 at , Erin, TN
County: Houston
Coordinates: N 36° 21.668    W 087° 39.406
  36.36113333    -87.65676666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM1P0X


The Wells Creek Basin

Side 1:
Between 100 and 200 millions of years ago, a meteor near 1,000 feet in diameter, weighing in excess of 100 million tons and traveling more than 10 miles per second, struck the earth at this location with a shattering impact. Scientists believe it penetrated about 2000 feet before exploding. Shock waves raced in all directions, and a fiery, mushroom cloud of fine rock dust and debris rose high in the air. The impact created a crater about four miles in diameter and one-half mile in depth.

Side 2:
Scientists believed the earth’s surface appeared to be damaged forever. Millions of years passed and erosion and vegetation softened this ugly scar left by the impact. The rim of the shattered rock disappeared, and the level of adjoining land was lowered hundreds of feet by erosion. Since its discovery, geologists have studied this phenomenon. It was discovered about 1860 when railroad construction revealed rock formations that suggested a violent event had occurred. This marker is located close to the center of the impact.

Tennessee Historical Commission