MY AMATEUR ADVENTURES IN CRATER EXPLORATION
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?
I flew my airplane (a C177B – GOZooM) to Puerto Rico to explore a crater only to find that someone had built a radio telescope in it!
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 have found 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.
“Civilization exists by geological consent …. subject to change without notice.”
– W. Durant –
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.
For the complete physics of impact crater formation I recommend the following references:
- VIDEO – CRATER EXPLORATIONS
- RASC – The Planetary Society
- Air&Space SMITHSONIAN
- RASC – The Planetary Society
- United States Meteorite Impact Craters
- Ernstson Claudin Impact Structures – Meteorite Craters
- Crater Research: A History
- 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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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)
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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.
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