KENTLAND, Ind. (WLFI) - The meteor that exploded over a Russian town yesterday is drawing a lot of attention around the world. While uncommon it's not unheard of for a meteorite to hit Earth. In fact, about 40 miles northwest of Lafayette in Kentland the remains of a meteorite impact are still present.
"It is, what most people don't know, the site of a world class impact crater," Purdue professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science Jay Melosh said.
Melosh is talking about Kentland, Ind., a small town a lot of people in Indiana may not know about, but if you're a scientist Melosh said you've heard of the world famous Kentland crater.
Scientists estimate between 10,000 and 340 million years ago a meteorite, about a half mile in diameter, hit Earth near the small town in Newton County. What's most significant is that it's the first place scientists discovered characteristic fracture marks in the rock called shatter cones.
"These shatter cones were first discovered in the 1940s at Kentland and they indicate a presence of extra shock pressures and that means a meteor impact," Melosh said.
The site is now a quarry where the unique rock structures are mined. It also serves as a place for researchers, students, and educators to learn about the unique shatter cones that can only be created by a meteorite impact.
Quarry Superintendent Roger Bohlinger says after 37 years at the plant he's use to seeing the unique rock layers, but when visitors come they're blown away.
"It's kind of a natural thing to see the rocks standing vertical, but when people come in here that haven't seen the structure that it is here, they're pretty much amazed with what forces it would take to actually disturb the Earth and do what it did," Bohlinger said.
So what would happen if a meteorite impact like the one in Kentland happened today?
"Although it wouldn't cause global extinction we might suffer global crop failures for a couple years from the dust raised and the change in climate caused by an impact that size and that would, for our current civilization, disrupt transport, there would be massive starvation," Melosh said. "It's conceivable that half the population of the world would die."
Luckily, Melosh says scientists expect one meteorite impact, like the size of the one in Kentland every 1 million years.
The quarry, owned by Rogers Group, is not open to the public, but Bohlinger said if you'd like to visit you can schedule a tour.
Governor Mike Pence and executives from Allegion announced Wednesday morning that the company will base its North American headquarters in Carmel, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2014.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office wants residents to be aware of fire hazards involving Christmas trees and decorations during the holiday season.
An Indianapolis police officer's lawsuit against the original seller of the handgun later used to wound him might have to overcome a state law that gives gun sellers significant immunity.