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Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike 

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Old 11-17-2010, 07:45 AM
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Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

(from Dave McNamara, FOX 8 News)

A few miles south of Greensburg, there
is a noticeable dip in the road as you drive along Louisiana Highway 37. But it doesn't seem out of place among the gentle hills of St. Helena Parish. nothing seemed unusual until LSU scientists working for the Louisiana Geological Survey began mapping the area.

"And while we were looking at the topographic maps, we noticed a very strange circular feature," says Paul Heinrich with the Louisiana Geological Survey.

A map created with laser imaging shows Highway 37 crossing the north end of that curious depression. The circle, more than a mile across, caught the eye of Paul Heinrich.

"And since there are no volcanoes in Louisiana and there are no salt domes in this part of Louisiana, we knew that something strange was happening," he says.

The only explanation Heinrich could come up with was a meteor crater. It likely happened within the last ten to twelve thousand years; a time when primitive people inhabited the piney woods of st. Helena.

A meteor would have struck without warning. A large space rock is speeding toward the earth. And once it hits the friction of Earth's atmosphere, the fireball is only seconds from impact.

"It would have been a very bad day for anybody within 20 or 30 miles of here. Probably like a small nuclear explosion there would have been like a 10 or 20 mile zone in which anybody or anything here would have been either killed or very badly injured," Heinrich said.

The meteor that made the crater was no small piece of cosmic rock. in fact, when it slammed into the earth, it was at least a hundred feet in diameter. That's similar in size to the meteor that made a crater in Arizona. Heinrich believes the Louisiana crater is slightly larger than this. But erosion and weathering in Louisiana's soft soil have erased what was once a massive hole.

Heinrich has found evidence that proves his theory of a meteor strike. The impact fractured the iron-rich bedrock and superheated water bleached the sediment. Those fractures are clearly visible near the crater's rim. But the real proof is in tiny pieces of quartz that have similar shock marks...microscopic dark lines that confirm the impact.

"The only known manner in which shocked quartz is formed is either by meteorite impacts or nuclear tests," says Heinrich.

It's the finger print of a prehistoric catastrophe. The only known meteor crater in Louisiana, and one of only 120 on Earth. It's an example of how we can still make fascinating discoveries about our past.

Paul Heinrich says he and other geologists have searched for fragments of the meteorite, but so far they've had no luck. Typically, as much as 90 percent of the iron or rock meteorite would vaporize on impact. Heinrich says this type of meteor impact occurs every 2,000 to 6,000 years.

The crater is located along La. Hwy 37 about 3 miles southwest of the town of Greensberg. The headquarters for the St. Helena Fire Department is a good landmark. It's located on the western rim of the meteor crater

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:02 PM
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Re: Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

Here's the vid.

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Old 11-18-2010, 04:20 PM
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Re: Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

How interesting. You couldnt even recognize that dip in the road.....he must be one experienced geologist.

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Old 11-18-2010, 05:21 PM
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Re: Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

interesting post

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Old 11-20-2010, 06:28 AM
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Re: Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

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Old 11-22-2010, 07:00 AM
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Re: Heart of Louisiana: Louisianas Meteor Strike

They're coming!

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