Origins of the Gulf of Mexico

Subject: Legend, Folk Belief, Origin Myth


Informant: Lauren Herring


Background Information/Context: Lauren and I live in Houston, Texas, and for a beach, we go to Galveston, Kemah, or somewhere else along the water. The “beaches” aren’t usually what you would think of when you picture a beach. They are usually just a drop-off into the water. Sometimes, like the Galveston beach, you’ll have rocks that lead into the water, or occasionally some sand and some sort of beach. The water is murky brown, almost black, because of the pollution and oil spills that are in the water. The body of water is called the Gulf of Mexico, which is shaped roughly like a semi-circle, and leads out into the ocean.


“So, I don’t know if you’ve heard this one, but I learned it at Kinkaid [the high school we both went to]. But it was in a science class I think in middle school, and I remember believing it when somebody told me it. It was that the asteroid that made the dinosaurs go extinct struck Earth where the Gulf of Mexico is, and that’s why it’s shaped like that.”


Conclusion: I had not heard about this belief, but I can see why Lauren would believe it if a classmate told her about this story when she was a little younger. I do think it’s funny that one of our classmates made it up.