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SMSU Scientist Discovers Meteorite Impact

An SMSU scientist has made a startling discovery in the Ozarks: a large meteorite impact site from millions of years ago. KSMU's Jeremy Elwood has more.

A scientist at SMSU says he's discovered what appears to be the impact site of a large meteorite.

Kevin Evans is a geography, geology, and planning lecturer at SMSU. He says when the Ozarks region was a shallow ocean 340 million years ago, a large meteorite crashed into the ocean near what is now the Weaubleau creek area in southwest Missouri. He explains how he made the discovery last November.

(Audio: Kevin Evans)

Evans says the site is about 50 to 60 miles north of Springfield with highway 13 running right through it. He explains how scientists go about identifying impact sites.

(Audio: Kevin Evans)

He estimates the actual meteorite was about 400 meters across, the size of about four football fields. Of course, when many people hear about giant meteorites hitting the earth, they usually think about the dinosaurs. Evans says the one that hit Missouri probably wasn't as big as the one that hit near Cancun, Mexico' that's the one that's credited with wiping out the dinosaurs. But Evans points out that the meteorite that hit the weaubleau-osceola site could've caused similar problems on a smaller scale.

(Audio: Kevin Evans)

And some scientists believe there was a series of meteorites that hit the earth around the same time, forming a band of meteorite impact sites across the central United States.

Evans explains

(Audio: Kevin Evans)

Evans says the discovery of the weaubleau-osceola site may help scientists determine if there was a series of meteorites that fell across the Midwest. He says most of these meteorites hit the earth at a high rate of speed.

(Audio: Kevin Evans)

Evans says many experts at SMSU are working to learn more about the site. He says the weaubleau-osceola site is one of the top 50 in the world' there are only 166 such sites on earth.