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Middlesboro Crater

Middlesborough, Kentucky 40965 USA

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“a town inside a meteorite basin”

The Middlesboro crater is a meteorite crater in Kentucky, United States. It is named after the city of Middlesborough (both spellings are used), which today occupies much of the crater. 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, 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. According to Middlesboro, Kentucky's Wikipedia page, Middlesboro is also the home of ragtime music and the oldest continuously played golf course.

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Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
February 28, 2016
Rated 4.0

I lived there most of my life and love it. Things have been rough since the coal industry took a down turn but there is a lot of historical facts and places to visit but the main attraction is our Cumberland Gap National Park. Hope you love my Town as much as I do.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 16 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 29, 2015

We drove through and observed the landscape but didn't find anything interesting enough for us to stop. The cumberland gap tunnel was really cool though!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
July 21, 2014

Very cool geography! Can definitely see the ring of mountains (edge of circular meteorite crater) surrounding the town, even from McDonald's parking lot.

1 person found this review helpful

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Middlesboro Crater

Middlesborough, Kentucky
40965 USA

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  • Wheelchair Accessible
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