Wells Creek Crater - The Wells Creek impact crater is an eroded 12km structure located in Houston, Stewart, and a small portion of Montgomery Counties, in Tennessee.
Evidence of Impact Origin
The impact origin of each location listed on this website has been supported by unambiguous diagnostic evidence of hypervelocity impact that has been reported in a scientific (usually peer reviewed) context. Without such evidence, a geological structure is not a confirmed impact crater. This section, which is included for each crater on this website, is not an exhaustive list of such published evidence, but is meant to demonstrate that appropriate work has been done for each listing.
Dietz, R. S., Shatter Cones in Cryptoexplosion Structures (Meteorite Impact?) The Journal of Geology Vol. 67, No. 5 (Sep., 1959), pp. 496-505.
Nature of diagnostic evidence:
Other significant evidence: breccia, morphology.
Safford's geologic map of Tennessee, 1869. Dr. W. T. Lander described and mapped the structure around 1899. (detailed in wilson, 1953) First evidence based proposal of an impact origin? Not sure yet.
Bibliography and References:
(If links to articles don't work, don't give up. Try pasting the link shown into a search engine or searching for the article authors, title, or other reference information. If your research leads you to additional scientific references related to this crater, please help improve this resource by sending a note with the new citation(s) to: email@example.com )
Alexander S. S., Hawk J. H. (1971) The use of shatter cones to estimate the energy of meteorite impacts (abstract), Programs and Abstracts, 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, EOS, Transactions AGU, Volume 52, No. 4, p. 264. doi: 10.1029/EO052i004p00179
Berwind M. (2006) Field Trip to the Wells Creek Basin Cryptoexplosive Structure, Stewart and Houston Counties, Tennessee. Tennessee Division of Geology.
no link found (referenced in Ford, 2015)
Berwind M. (2007) Meteorite impact structures in Tennessee. The Tennessee Conservationist, Volume 73, No. 3, pp. 15-18.
no link found
Boon J. D., Albritton C. C. (1936) Meteorite Craters and Their Possible Relationship to “Cryptovolcanic Structures”. Field and Laboratory, Volume 5, No. 1, pp. 1-9.
Boon J. D., Albritton C. C. (1937) Meteorite Scars in Ancient Rocks. Field and Laboratory, Volume 5, No. 2, pp. 53-64.
Boon J. D., Albritton C. C. (1938) Established and supposed examples of meteoritic craters and structures. Field and Laboratory, Volume 6, No. 2, pp. 44-56.
Bucher W. H. (1936) Cryptovolcanic structures in the United States (with discussion). Proceedings of the 16th International Geological Congress (1933), Volume 2, pp. 1055-1084.
no link found
Bucher W. H. (1963) Are cryptovolcanic structures due to meteorite impact? Nature, Volume 197, 1241-1245. doi:10.1038/1971241a0
Bucher W. H. (1963) Crypotexplosion structures caused from without or from within the Earth? ("astroblemes" or "geoblemes?"). American Journal of Science, Volume 261, No. 7, pp. 597-649. doi: 10.2475/ajs.261.7.597
Bucher W. H. (1965) The largest so-called meteorite scars in three continents as demonstrably tied to major terrestrial structures. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 123, pp. 897-903. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1965.tb20408.x
Cavender D. B., Gibson M. A., Dunagan S., Hooks B. P. (2013) Wells Creek Impact Crater: structural re-evaluation in light of forty years of global impact studies, Geological Society of America, Southeastern Section 62nd Annual Meeting, Abstracts with Programs. Volume 45, No. 2, p.60
Dietz R. S. (1946) Geological Structures Possibly Related To Lunar Craters. Popular Astronomy, Volume 54, Issue 9, pp. 465-467.
Dietz R. S. (1959) Shatter Cones in Cryptoexplosion Structures (Meteorite Impact?). The Journal of Geology, Volume 67, No. 5, pp. 496-505.
Dietz R. S. (1960) Meteorite Impact Suggested By Shatter Cones in Rock. Science, Volume 131, Issue 3416, pp. 1781-1784.doi: 10.1126/science.131.3416.1781
Dietz R. S. (1968) Shatter Cones in Cryptoexplosion Structures. In French B. M., Short N. M. (eds.), Shock Metamorphism of Natural Materials. Baltimore, Mono Book Corporation. pp. 267-285.
no link found
Ford J. H. (2015) The Tennessee meteorite impact sites and changing perspectives on impact cratering, PhD dissertation, University of Southern Queensland, 268 pages.
Ford J. H., Orchiston W., Clendening R. (2012) The Wells Creek Meteorite Impact Site and Changing Views on Impact Cratering. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Volume 15, No. 3, pp. 159-178.
Kellberg J. M. (1966) Possible tectonic origin for "cryptoexplosion" structures: Wells Creek structure, Tennessee (abstract). In Abstracts for 1965, Abstracts of papers submitted for six meetings with which the Society was associated, Geological Society of America, Special Paper 87, p. 253.
no link found
Milam K. A. (2007) Petrographic observations of central uplift formation in complex craters (abstract #8053). Lunar and Planetary Institute, Workshop on Impact Cratering II
Milam K. A., Deane B. (2005) Petrogenesis of central uplifts in complex terrestrial impact structures (abstract #2061). Abstracts of the 36th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
Milam K. A., Henderson T., Steinberg R. M., Martin J. (2016) Shock metamorphism of shatter-coned knox group dolostones from the central uplifts of the Flynn Creek and Wells Creek impact structures (abstract #2504). Abstracts of the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
Milici R. C., Manning R. A., Statler A. T. (1975) Oil and gas production from the Wells Creek and Knox dolomites (Ordovician), Buffalo Cove field, Fentress County, Tennessee (abstract). Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Volume 7, No. 4. p. 518.
no link found - listed in PASSC database
Price B. (1991) Tennessee’s Mystery Craters. Tennessee Conservationist, Tennessee Division of Geology, September/October issue, pp. 22-26.
no link found - listed in Ford, 2012
Puryear S. M. (1968) A study of jointing in the area of the Wells Creek structure, Houston, Montgomery, Stewart, Dickson Counties, Tennessee. Unpublished Master's Thesis, Vanderbilt University.
no link found
Schmieder M., Buchner E. (2008) Paleoenvironmental charts for terrestrial impact structures - a simple tool to test ages and marine/continental impact conditions (abstract #3028). Abstracts of the Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV conference.
Simonds C. H., Warner J. L., Phinney W. C. (1977) Effect of watering on cratering (abstract). Abstracts of the Spring Meeting, EOS Transactions American Geophysical Union, Volume 58, No. 6, p. 425. doi: 10.1029/EO058i006p00366
Stearns, R.G., 1988. Field Trip to Wells Creek Basin Meteor Impact Structure, Tennessee. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
no link found - listed in Ford et al., 2012.
Stearns R. G., Tiedemann H. A., Wilson C. W. Jr. (1968) Geologic map of the Needmore quadrangle, Tennessee. Tennessee Division of Geology, Geologic Map GM 38-NE. 1:24,000.
no link found - topographic quadrangle has been updated to Needmore 38-NE (1983)
Stearns R. G., Wilson C. W. Jr., Tiedemann H. A., Wilcox J. T., Marsh P. S. (1968) The Wells Creek structure, Tennessee. in French, B. and Short, N. M., eds., Shock Metamorphism of Natural Materials, Mono Book Corp., Baltimore, MD, pp. 323.
no link found
Wilson C. W. Jr., Stearns R. G. (1966) Circumferential faulting around Wells Creek Basin, Houston and Stewart counties, Tennessee: a manuscript by J.M. Safford and W.T. Lander, circa 1895. Reprinted from the Journal of the Tennessee Academy ofScience, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 37-48 as Tennessee Division of Geology, Information Circular no. 15.
no link found. JTAS is at http://tennacadofsci.org/journal/Articles.php
Tiedemann H. A. (1997) The Wells Creek structure, Tennessee - From Heaven or Hell?, in Ames Structure in Northwest Oklahoma and Similar Features: Origin and Petroleum Production (1995 Symposium), Johnson K. S. and Campbell J. A., editors, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Norman, Oklahoma, v. Circular 100, pp. 265-271.
Tiedemann H. A., Wilson C. A. Jr., Stearns R. G. (1968) Geologic map and mineral resources summary of the Cumberland City quadrangle, Tennessee. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Geologic Map GM-38-NW.
no link found - topographic quadrangle updated to Cumberland City 38-NW (1983) - description at http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/Prodesc/proddesc_67928.htm
Wilshire H. G., Howard K. A. (1968) Structural pattern in central uplifts of cryptoexplosion structures as typified by Sierra Madera, Science, Volume 162, Issue 3850, pp. 258-261. doi: 10.1126/science.162.3850.258
Wilson, C. W. Jr. (1953) Wilcox deposits in explosion craters, Stewart County, Tennessee, and their relations to the origin and age of Wells Creek Basin structure. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Volume 64, No. 7, pp. 753-768. doi: 10.1130/0016-7606(1953)64[753:WDIECS]2.0.CO;2
Wilson C. W. Jr. (1965) Selected Features of the Wells Creek Basin Cryptoexplosive Structure, in Guidebook for field trips, Southeastern Section Geological Society of America, Nashville, Tennessee, April 7-10, Composite guidebook for three field trips.
no link found
Wilson C. W. Jr., Stearns R. G. (1968) Geology of the Wells Creek structure, Tennessee. Tennessee Division of Geology, Tennessee State Geological Survey, Bulletin 68.
no link found
Wilson C. W. Jr., Stearns R. G. (1969) Lateral and vertical movements of rock in the Wells Creek structure, Tennessee (abstract). Geological Society of America, Southeastern Section 18th Annual Meeting, Abstracts with Programs, part 4, p. 87.
no link found - listed in Bibliography of North American Geolology, 1969.
Wilson C. W. Jr., Tiedemann H. A., Stearns R. G. (1968) Meteor impact as a model for Wells Creek Basin (abstract). Abstracts of Papers Submitted for the Meetings in San Francisco, California November 14–16, 1966: The Geological Society of America the Paleontological Society the Mineralogical Society of America Society of Economic Geologists Geochemical Society National Association of Geology Teachers, in Geological Society of America Special Paper 101, p. 241. doi:10.1130/SPE101-p1
Nice non-technical introductions can be found at:
Baldwin M. (2011) Wells Creek Impact Crater, Stewart and Houston Counties, Central Tennessee. Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society (MAGS) Rockhound News, Volume 57, No. 3, pp. 1, 3-4.
Sackett R. (2009) What Happened at Wells Creek, TN?