Browsing by Author "MacLagan, Ebberly A."
Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
Results Per Page
- ItemEvidence of impact melting and post-impact decomposition of sedimentary target rocks from the Steen River impact structure, Alberta, Canada(2019) Walton, Erin L.; Timms, Nick E.; Hauck, Tyler E.; MacLagan, Ebberly A.; Herd, Christopher D. K.Hypervelocity bolide impacts deliver vast amounts of energy to the Earth's near surface. This crustal process almost universally includes sedimentary target rocks; however, their response to impact is poorly understood, in part because of complexities due to layering, pore space and the presence of volatiles that are difficult to model. The response of carbonates to bolide impact remains contentious, yet whether they melt or decompose and liberate gases by the reaction CaCO3(s) → CaO(s) + CO2(g)↑, has significant implications for post-impact climatic effects. We report on previously unknown carbonate impact melts at the Steen River impact structure, Canada, and the first description of naturally shocked barite, BaSO4. Carbonate melts are preserved as groundmass-supported calcite-rich clasts, sampled from an up to 164 m thick, continuous sequence of crater-fill polymict breccias. Electron microscopy reveals fluidal- and ocellar-textured calcite and barite, intimately associated with silicate melt, consistent with these phases being in the liquid state at the same time. Raman spectroscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) mapping confirm the presence of high-pressure phases – reidite and coesite – within some Steen River carbonate melt-bearing breccias. These minerals attest to the strong shock provenance of the breccia and provide constraints on their shock history. Preservation of reidite lamellae in zircon indicates a shock pressure >30 GPa <60 GPa and temperatures <1473 K. In addition to melting, we present compelling evidence for widespread (70–100%) decomposition of carbonate target rocks, mixed as lithic clasts into hot impact breccias. In this context, decomposition occurs strictly post-impact due to thermal equilibration-related heating. We demonstrate that this mechanism for CO2 outgassing is likely more widespread than previously recognized. The presence of andradite-grossular garnet serve as mineralogical markers of decomposition, analogous to limestone-replacing skarn deposits. Ca-rich garnet may therefore prove an important indicator mineral for post-shock decomposition of carbonate-bearing target rocks at other craters. These findings significantly advance our understanding of how sedimentary rocks respond to hypervelocity impact, and have wide-reaching implications for estimating the amount and timing of climatically-active volatile release due to impact events.
- ItemInvestigation of impact melt clasts in allochthonous crater-fill deposits of the Steen River impact structure(2016) MacLagan, Ebberly A.; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Walton, Erin L.The Steen River impact structure (SRIS) is a buried complex crater located in northwestern Alberta that is thought to have formed around 91 ± 7 Ma. The goal of this study was to investigate the impact melt clasts in the SRIS breccia to determine their mechanisms of formation and emplacement.
- ItemInvestigation of impact melt in allochthonous crater-fill deposits of the Steen River impact structure, Alberta, Canada(2018) MacLagan, Ebberly A.; Walton, Erin L.; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Dence, MichaelThe Steen River impact structure (SRIS) formed in mixed target rocks, with Devonian carbonates, shales, and evaporites overlying granitic basement rocks of the Canadian Shield. A detailed study of impact melt phases within a continuous sequence of polymict impact breccia, as intersected by drill core, evaluated the relationship of impact melt to the breccia, identified the target rocks that contributed to the melt, and calculated the amount of melt within the breccia. Impact melt in the SRIS breccia occurs in three main forms (1) as individual matrix-supported clasts, (2) as rims enveloping granitic clasts, and (3) as layers of agglomerated melt. Major and minor element abundances of large impact melt clasts (>1 mm) are similar to granitic basement, aside from elevated CaO and K2O wt% oxides in these melt clasts from incorporation of carbonates and calcareous shales. In contrast, submillimeter-sized impact melt clasts have a composition derived almost exclusively from melting of shales. The small size of the shale-derived melt clasts is attributed to increased fragmentation and a wider dispersion due to the volatile-rich nature of the shale protolith. The wide compositional range of impact-melted target lithologies documented at the SRIS contradicts breccia clast formation by impact melts that merged into larger bodies but were subsequently disrupted. Our observations are consistent with disruption of impact melt early in its formation history, and the volatile-rich nature of the target materials likely contributed to this disruption. Bimodal thin section scans provide an estimate of the proportion of impact melt phases in the SRIS breccias (~19 vol%). When compared to similarly sized, mixed-target impact structures, our results are consistent with the estimated volume of impact melt clasts from Ries, Germany (21 vol%), but are roughly twice that observed at Haughton, Canada (<10 vol%).