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Special Report: Wetumpka Impact Crater

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Student Reporters: Kaylyn, Adrienne, Ashley & Haley


Elmore County High School, Elmore County School District


This podcast is a four minute news segment from the fictional WETU Channel 4 News. The "Special Report" highlights the impact crater that was formed over 83 million years ago when an asteroid slammed into the area now known as Wetumpka, Alabama. The news segment includes field reporting from the Wetumpka Impact Crater historical marker, from the western rim of the crater, and from Auburn University. At Auburn University, a student reporter interviews Dr. David King, Professor of Geology, who has researched the crater extensively. Dr. King explains the devastation that was caused by the impact as well as how he was able to prove the crater was caused by a meteor or asteroid through the discovery of shocked quartz.

Length: 3:58

Content Areas: Science

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

SC (9-12) Earth and Space Elective
5. Discuss various theories for the origin, formation, and changing nature of the universe and our solar system.
  • Explaining the nebular hypothesis for formation of planets, the big bang theory, and the steady state theory
  • Relating Hubble's law to the concept of an ever-expanding universe
  • Describing the impact of meteor, asteroid, and comet bombardment on planetary and lunar development
    SC (9-12) Geology Elective
    7. Describe processes of rock formation.
    Examples: cooling, deposition
  • Explaining factors that control texture and composition of rocks
  • Examples: formation depth, formation size, chemical composition
  • Describing processes of fossil formation
    SC (9-12) Geology Elective
    15. Identify geological regions in Alabama and the southeastern United States.
  • Identifying geological ages of Alabama rocks
  • Describing characteristics of geological regions within Alabama
  • Identifying earthquake zones in Alabama
  • Identifying types of rocks in Alabama
  • Identifying areas of Alabama that have sinkholes and caves
  • Identifying varying seasonal rainfall patterns throughout Alabama
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    9. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain how constructive and destructive processes (e.g., weathering, erosion, volcanism, orogeny, plate tectonics, tectonic uplift) shape Earth's land features (e.g., mountains, valleys, plateaus) and sea features (e.g., trenches, ridges, seamounts).
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    10. Construct an explanation from evidence for the processes that generate the transformation of rocks in Earth's crust, including chemical composition of minerals and characteristics of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    11. Obtain and communicate information about significant geologic characteristics (e.g., types of rocks and geologic ages, earthquake zones, sinkholes, caves, abundant fossil fauna, mineral and energy resources) that impact life in Alabama and the southeastern United States.


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