In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Jay Huebner of the University of North Florida reveals the geographic evidence supporting reports of a historical meteorite impact.
Jay Huebner is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He is one of the university’s charter faculty members and has taught a variety of engineering, physics, and astronomy courses. He has studied at the prestigious Keck Observatory in Hawaii and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of California Riverside.
Dr. Jay Huebner – Historical Meteorite Impact
Would be French colonists built a fort on the St. Johns River in 1564, in what is not Jacksonville, FL and called it La Caroline. On the 29th of August that year, strange phenomena were observed and later described by the fort commander, Rene de Laudonniere. He described a bright white flash, loud noises and 500 acres of the near-by dense forest and grassy meadows being burned by fires lasting for three days. Laudonniere described this event in his memoirs as an unusual “lightning flash.” He also said it incinerated all of the birds in the meadows, killed many fish, which the French collelcted, cooked and ate, making them ill. Toxic metals from the impacting object could account for the illnesses. Five days later the water in the marsh still seemed to be boiling.
Now, near where this fort must have been there is a 1000 foot diameter round marsh, which connects to larger open marshes and the St. Johns River. Round Marsh has a discernible rim, a feature of impact craters. A UNF committee investigating Round Marsh thinks it was not lightening that was observed, but a meteor impact, creating Round Marsh as a crater. The Timucuans, Native Americans then in the area, pleaded with the French not to shoot their cannon again, suggesting they did not think it was lightning either. Searching the words ‘Round Marsh Jacksonville’ on the Internet will lead to images of Round Marsh and directions to it. It is near interstate 295, on National Park land in Jacksonville FL, and is a lovely site to visit.