Shatter cone

Part of Hall of Meteorites.

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Stress fractures

This rock sample, found at Wells Creek Crater, is called a shatter cone. Shatter cones form when the shock wave from a meteorite impact travels down into the rock layers below. The intense pressure cracks the rock in a branching pattern, leaving cone-shaped chunks pointing toward the center of the impact. The tiny ridgelines radiating from the tip of the cone are imprints of the shattering shock wave frozen into the rock's surface.


Wells Creek, Tennessee, USA

AGE: ~ 200 million years

DIAMETER: 12 Kilometers (8 miles)