Astrogeology Science Center

A) Reconstruction of the Flynn Creek crater by Roddy (1977b). B) Locations of 1967 and 1978-1979 drill holes completed by the USGS at the Flynn Creek crater. Outer line shows the location of the top of the crater wall and inner line shows the location of the base of the central uplift. Figure modified from Roddy (1980).
A) Reconstruction of the Flynn Creek crater by Roddy (1977b). B) Locations of 1967 and 1978-1979 drill holes completed by the USGS at the Flynn Creek crater. Outer line shows the location of the top of the crater wall and inner line shows the location of the base of the central uplift. Figure modified from Roddy (1980).
Original core log entry for Flynn Creek drill hole number 1.
Original core log entry for Flynn Creek drill hole number 1.
Impact breccia from Flynn Creek drill core from drill hole number 7, ~1989’ depth.
Impact breccia from Flynn Creek drill core from drill hole number 7, ~1989’ depth.
Geologic cross section through the Flynn Creek crater central uplift (Wilson and Roddy, 1990).
Geologic cross section through the Flynn Creek crater central uplift (Wilson and Roddy, 1990).

Flynn Creek crater is a 3.8 km diameter, 360 million year old impact structure located in north central Tennessee. Between 1967 and 1979, USGS scientist Dr. David Roddy conducted a drilling program at Flynn Creek crater, which is an invaluable terrestrial analog for the study of planetary impact cratering dynamics. The drilling program produced more than 3.8 km of nearly continuous core from 18 separate bore holes. These samples are now contained in 2,261 standard core storage boxes at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Geologic studies of the drill cores in the 1960’s and 1970’s laid the groundwork for understanding structural deformation during marine target impact crater formation, but the cores have remained inaccessible and unstudied since that time. Recent advances in numerical modeling and analytical techniques for terrestrial impact crater analog studies have provided unprecedented details on the formation of complex impact crater morphology, impact-induced hydrothermal systems, impact melting of sedimentary targets, and mineral shock metamorphism. These types of hydrothermal systems are of considerable scientific interest because they may have played a significant role in the origin and evolution of life on early Earth and produced temporary near-surface habitable environments on Mars.

Given the modern financial and logistical difficulties inherent in conducting thorough drilling campaigns at marine target impact craters, and the importance of this unique geologic collection to investigations of terrestrial impact craters as planetary analogs, we are currently developing the Flynn Creek crater online database and web portal. The primary goal is to provide access to these invaluable geologic samples for the scientific community in order to facilitate basic scientific research and maximize the USGS’s prior financial and scientific investment.

USGS Astrogeology Research Publications Using the Flynn Creek Crater Drill Core Collection

Roddy, D. J. (1963) Flynn Creek structure, Tennessee. Astrogeologic Studies Annual Progress Report,

pp. 118-126.

 

Roddy, D. J. (1964) Geologic section across the Flynn Creek

structure. Astrogeologic Studies Annual
Progress Report, pp. 53-76.

 

Roddy, D. J. (1964) Recent investigations of the Flynn

Creek structure, with a section on geophysical studies by Shawn Biehler and
D.J. Roddy. Astrogeologic Studies, Annual
Progress Report, pt. B, pp. 163-180.

 

Roddy, D. J. (1966) The

Paleozoic crater at Flynn Creek, Tennessee. PhD thesis, California
Institute of Technology.

 

Roddy, D. J. (1966) An unusual dolomitic basal facies of

the Chattanooga shale in the Flynn Creek structure (abstract). American Mineralogist, v. 51, p. 270.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1968a) Comet impact and formation of Flynn Creek and other craters with
central peaks (abstract). EOS, v. 49,
p. 272.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1968b) Paleozoic crater at Flynn Creek - a possible impact structure
(abstract). Geological Society of America
Special Paper 101, p. 179.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1968c) Shock metamorphism in carbonate rocks at probable impact
structures (abstract). Geological Society
of America, Cordilleran Section, 64th Annual Meeting, Tuscon, Arizona, p.
103.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1968d) The Flynn Creek crater, Tennessee. French, B.M. and Short, N.M.,
eds., Shock Metamorphism of Natural
Materials, Mono Book Corp., Baltimore, MD, pp. 291-322.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1976) The Flynn Creek crater: Structural deformation and cratering
processes. Paper presented to the Symposium
on Planetary Cratering Mechanics (Lunar Science Institute Topical
Conference), pp. 121-123.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1977a) Tabular comparisons of the Flynn Creek impact crater, United
States, Steinheim impact crater, Germany, and Snowball explosion crater,
Canada. Roddy, D.J., Pepin, R.A. and Merrill, R.B., eds., Impact and Explosion Cratering, Pergamon Press, New York, pp.
125-161. 

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1977b) Pre-impact conditions and cratering processes at the Flynn Creek
crater, Tennessee. Roddy, D.J., Pepin, R.O. and Merrill, R.B., eds., Impact and Explosion Cratering, Pergamon
Press, New York, pp. 277-308.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1979a) Structural deformation at the Flynn Creek impact crater,
Tennessee: A preliminary report on deep drilling. Proceedings Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 10th, pp.
2519-2534.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1979b) Current drilling and structural studies at the Flynn Creek impact
crater, Tennessee (abstract). 10th Lunar
and Planetary Science Conference, abstract #1361.

 

Roddy,

D. J. (1980a) Completion of a deep drilling program at the Flynn Creek impact
crater, Tennessee (abstract). 11th Lunar
and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1335.

 

Hagerty,

J. J., Gaither, T. A., McHone, J. F., and Abramov, O. (2013) The USGS Flynn
Creek Crater Drill Core Collection, 4th
Annual Planetary Crater Consortium, Abstract #1304.

 

Hagerty,

J. J., McHone, J. F., and Gaither, T. A. (2013) The Flynn Creek Crater Drill
Core Collection at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract
#2122. 

 

Roddy, D. J. (1963) Flynn Creek structure, Tennessee. Astrogeologic Studies Annual Progress Report, pp. 118-126.

Roddy, D. J. (1964) Geologic section across the Flynn Creekstructure. Astrogeologic Studies Annual Progress Report, pp. 53-76.

Roddy, D. J. (1964) Recent investigations of the Flynn Creek structure, with a section on geophysical studies by Shawn Biehler and D.J. Roddy. Astrogeologic Studies, Annual Progress Report, pt. B, pp. 163-180.

Roddy, D. J. (1966) The Paleozoic crater at Flynn Creek, Tennessee. PhD thesis, California Institute of Technology.

Roddy, D. J. (1966) An unusual dolomitic basal facies ofthe Chattanooga shale in the Flynn Creek structure (abstract). American Mineralogist, v. 51, p. 270.

Roddy, D. J. (1968a) Comet impact and formation of Flynn Creek and other craters with central peaks (abstract). EOS, v. 49, p. 272.

Roddy, D. J. (1968b) Paleozoic crater at Flynn Creek - a possible impact structure(abstract). Geological Society of America Special Paper 101, p. 179.

Roddy, D. J. (1968c) Shock metamorphism in carbonate rocks at probable impactstructures (abstract). Geological Societyof America, Cordilleran Section, 64th Annual Meeting, Tuscon, Arizona, p.103.

Roddy, D. J. (1968d) The Flynn Creek crater, Tennessee. French, B.M. and Short, N.M.,eds., Shock Metamorphism of NaturalMaterials, Mono Book Corp., Baltimore, MD, pp. 291-322.

Roddy, D. J. (1976) The Flynn Creek crater: Structural deformation and crateringprocesses. Paper presented to the Symposiumon Planetary Cratering Mechanics (Lunar Science Institute TopicalConference), pp. 121-123.

Roddy, D. J. (1977a) Tabular comparisons of the Flynn Creek impact crater, United States, Steinheim impact crater, Germany, and Snowball explosion crater, Canada. Roddy, D.J., Pepin, R.A. and Merrill, R.B., eds., Impact and Explosion Cratering, Pergamon Press, New York, pp. 125-161. 

Roddy, D. J. (1977b) Pre-impact conditions and cratering processes at the Flynn Creek crater, Tennessee. Roddy, D.J., Pepin, R.O. and Merrill, R.B., eds., Impact and Explosion Cratering, PergamonPress, New York, pp. 277-308.

Roddy, D. J. (1979a) Structural deformation at the Flynn Creek impact crater, Tennessee: A preliminary report on deep drilling. Proceedings Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 10th, pp . 2519-2534.

Roddy, D. J. (1979b) Current drilling and structural studies at the Flynn Creek impact crater, Tennessee (abstract). 10th Lunarand Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1361.

Roddy, D. J. (1980a) Completion of a deep drilling program at the Flynn Creek impactcrater, Tennessee (abstract). 11th Lunarand Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1335.

Hagerty, J. J., Gaither, T. A., McHone, J. F., and Abramov, O. (2013) The USGS Flynn Creek Crater Drill Core Collection, 4thAnnual Planetary Crater Consortium, Abstract #1304.

Hagerty, J. J., McHone, J. F., and Gaither, T. A. (2013) The Flynn Creek Crater Drill Core Collection at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #2122. 

Selected References on the Flynn Creek Impact Structure

Evenick, J. C., Lee, P., and Deane, B. (2004), Flynn Creek impact structure: new insights from melt breccias, melt features, shatter cones, and remote sensing. Lunar Planet. Sci., XXXV, abstract #1131.

Evenick, Jonathan C. (2006) Field Guide to the Flynn Creek Impact Structure. Knoxville: University of Tennessee. 22 pg.

Milam, K. A. and Deane, B. (2007) The search for a meteoritic component in impactites from the Flynn Creek impact crater. Lun. Planet. Sci. XXXVIII, abstract #2320.

Schieber, J., Roddy, D., (2000) The Flynn Creek Crater in Tennessee: Learning from crater sedimentation about timing and impact condition, 2000 GSA Annual Meeting - Reno, Nevada. Abs. No. 50148.

Wilson, C. W., Jr. and Roddy, D. J., (1990), Geologic map and mineral resources summary of the Gainesboro quadrangle, Tennessee: Tennessee Division of Geology, GM 325-SW, Scale 1:24,000.