by: Charles O’Dale
The scientific study of impact structures began only about 50 years ago. I’m dating myself, but that was about the time my interest in impact craters started. Like any kid, I spent hours looking at the craters on the Moon through my old telescope. Would I ever get a chance to explore a crater? Well since retirement, I combined my hobbies of astronomy, geology and flying to explore impact craters and structures in North America from the air and ground. You may think that the natural geological forces on our planet would have destroyed any features of impact craters. But, in some instances, these forces have “cross sectioned” the craters to ease our study. I find the geology in these craters and structures fascinating!
This is me “on the job” exploring impact craters, this time at the Barringer Impact Crater.
While studying the physics of impact crater sites, I have found that circular geological features can also be produced by a number of geological processes.
Halliday I., and Griffin, A.A. 1964: Application of the scientific method to problems of crater recognition Meteoritics, vol. 2, No. 2.
These geological processes may include igneous activity (diatremes, maars, calderas, volcanoes, or syenite/plutons), dissolution and collapse of salt or carbonate rocks by groundwater (dolines), salt or shale diapirism, regional tectonism (circular fold-interference patterns or stratified circular features), glaciation (kettle holes), carbonate mounds, and by meteorite impacts (Stewart 2003).
Stewart S. A. 2003: How will we recognize buried impact craters in terrestrial sedimentary basins? Geology 31:929–932.
My science background plus the experience that I have gleaned from my past profession of semiconductor failure analysis has given me the incentive to document my analysis of these craters and structures. I encourage anyone to please contact me if they note any errors that I may have made in my documentation or if they have something to add.(A few of my expeditions actually resulted from suggestions made from readers of this site).
“We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.”
The “Changing Earth” section of the Dynamic Earth Museum at Science North Sudbury is presenting my images of the Manicouagan, Pingualuit (Chubb) and Barringer meteorite craters that I have documented on my expeditions. This is me with a smug look on my face beside the poster.
CRATER URL References
For the complete physics of impact crater formation I recommend the following references:
- Air&Space SMITHSONIAN
- RASC – The Planetary Society
- United States Meteorite Impact Craters
- Ernstson Claudin Impact Structures – Meteorite Craters
- Meteor/Meteorite News
- A CATASTROPHE OF COMETS
- The recognition of terrestrial impact structures,
- The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites,
- Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution II,
- Traces of Catastrophe,
- Earth Impact Database,
- Meteorite and Impacts Advisory Committee,
- Impact Cratering Tutorial,
- About Cosmic Impacts
- Wonders of Astronomy
- Phil Plait: How to defend Earth from asteroids.
- B612 Foundation
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Beals, C. S., 1968. On the possibility of a catastrophic origin for the great arc of eastern Hudson Bay.
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Brookfield M.E. 2006, THE GREAT ARC OF EASTERN HUDSON BAY, CANADA: PART OF THE LARGEST MULTIRINGED IMPACT BASIN ON EARTH? (Geological Society of America)
Caty, J.L. et al, 1976, A new astrobleme: Ile Rouleau structure: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v.13.
Dence, M. R. 1976 The Manicouagan impact structure. NASA Spec. Pub.
Dence M. R. 1972: The nature and significance of terrestrial impact structures. 24th Inter. Geol. Congr. Section 15, 77–89.
Dietz, R.S. 1947, Meteorite impact suggested by the orientation of shatter cones at the Kentland, Indiana, disturbance, Science 105, 42-76.
Dressler, B.O. & Sharpton, V.L. 1997: Breccia formation at a complex impact crater: Slate Islands, Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada. TECTONOPHYSICS, 1997 Vol.275, No.4, pp. 285-311.
Dressler et al 1995, New Observations at the Slate Islands Impact Structure, Lake Superior NASA CR-205312
French, Bevan M. 1998. Traces of Catastrophe, A handbook of Shock-Metamorphic effects, Lunar and Planetary Institute.
French, B. M.,The importance of being cratered:The new role of meteorite impact as a normal geological process. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 39, Nr 2, 169–197. 2004.
French, Bevan M. 2005: STALKING THE WILY SHATTER CONE, Impact Field Studies Group, Vol.2. Winter 2005.
French, Bevan M. & Koeberl, Christian 2009; The convincing identification of terrestrial meteorite impact structures: Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA
Gibson, H.M. & Spray, J.G. 1998, Shock-induced melting and vaporization of shatter cone surfaces: Evidence from the Sudbury impact structure, Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences, 33, 329-336.
Grieve and Head, 1983. R.A.F. Grieve and J.W. Head, The Manicouagan impact structure: An analysis of its original dimensions and form.
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Grieve, R.A.F. et al 2002. The recognition of terrestrial impact structures, Bulletin of the Czech Geological Survey, Vol. 77, No. 4, 253–263.
Grieve, R.A.F. 2006, Impact Structures in Canada (Geological Association of Canada).
Haskin, L et al 1998, The case for an Imbrium origin of the Apollo thorium-rich impact-melt breccias. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 959-975.
Kenkmann, T. et al, 2009, Low angle collision with Earth: The elliptical impact crater Matt Wilson, Northern Territory, Australia, Geology; May 2009; v. 37; no. 5; p. 459-462.
Koeberl, C. & French, B.M. 2009; The convincing identification of terrestrial meteorite impact structures: Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC , USA
Maddock, R.H., 1983. Melt origin of fault-generated Pseudotachylites demonstrated by textures, Geology, Vol 11, no 2.
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Meen V.B. 1957, Merewether Crater – A Possible Meteor Crater, Proceedings of the Geological Association of Canada, 9, 49-67.
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Melosh, H. J., 1989. Impact cratering: A geologic process New York, Oxford University Press.
Melosh, H. J. and Ivanov, B. A. 1999, Impact Crater Collapse, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 1999. 27:385–415.
Murtaugh, J.G. 1972, Shock metamorphism in the Manicouagan cryptoexplosion structure, Quebec. Proc. 24th Int. Geol. Congr.
Nicolaysen, L. O., Reimold, W. U.; Vredefort shatter cones revisited – Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012) Volume 104, Issue B3, pages 4911–4930, 10 March 1999.
Norton, O.R. 1998: ROCKS FROM SPACE, Mountain Press.
O’Dale, C. 2010: IMPACT CRATER EXPLORATIONS.
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