The University of Arizona

Structural characteristics of the Sudbury impact structure, Canada: Impact-induced versus orogenic deformation - A review

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Orogenic deformation, both preceding and following the impact event at Sudbury, strongly hinders a straightforward assessment of impact-induced geological processes that generated the Sudbury impact structure. Central to understanding these processes is the state of strain of the Sudbury Igneous Complex, the solidified impact melt sheet, its underlying target rocks, overlying impact breccias and post-impact sedimentary rocks. This review addresses (1) major structural, metamorphic and magmatic characteristics of the impact melt sheet and associated dikes, (2) attempts that have been made to constrain the primary geometry of the igneous complex, (3) modes of impact-induced deformation as well as (4) mechanisms of pre- and post-impact orogenic deformation. The latter have important consequences for estimating parameters such as magnitude of structural uplift, tilting of pre-impact (Huronian) strata and displacement on major discontinuities which, collectively, have not yet been considered in impact models. In this regard, a mechanism for the emplacement of Offset Dikes is suggested, that accounts for the geometry of the dikes and magmatic characteristics, as well as the occurrence of sulfides in the dikes. Moreover, re-interpretation of published paleomagnetic data suggests that orogenic folding of the solidified melt sheet commenced shortly after the impact. Uncertainties still exist as to whether the Sudbury impact structure was a peak-ring or a multi-ring basin and the deformation mechanisms of rock flow during transient cavity formation and crater modification.


Deformation;Impact melt;Large meteorite impact;Sudbury

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