The University of Arizona

Petrography, geochemistry, and alteration of country rocks from the Bosumtwi impact structure, Ghana



Samples of the country rocks that likely constituted the target rocks at the 1.07 Myr old Bosumtwi impact structure in Ghana, West Africa, collected outside of the crater rim in the northern and southern parts of the structure, were studied for their petrographic characteristics and analyzed for their major- and trace-element compositions. The country rocks, mainly meta-graywacke, shale, and phyllite of the Early Proterozoic Birimian Supergroup and some granites of similar age, are characterized by two generations of alteration. A pre-impact hydrothermal alteration, often along shear zones, is characterized by new growth of secondary minerals, such as chlorite, sericite, sulfides, and quartz, or replacement of some primary minerals, such as plagioclase and biotite, by secondary sericite and chlorite. A late, argillic alteration, mostly associated with the suevites, is characterized by alteration of the melt/glass clasts in the groundmass of suevites to phyllosilicates. Suevite, which occurs in restricted locations to the north and to the south-southwest of the crater rim, contains melt fragments, diaplectic quartz glass, ballen quartz, and clasts derived from the full variety of target rocks. No planar deformation features (PDFs) in quartz were found in the country rock samples, and only a few quartz grains in the suevite samples show PDFs, and in rare cases two sets of PDFs. Based on a total alkali element-silica (TAS) plot, the Bosumtwi granites have tonalitic to quartz-dioritic compositions. The Nb versus Y and Ta versus Yb discrimination plots show that these granites are of volcanic-arc tectonic provenance. Provenance studies of the metasedimentary rocks at the Bosumtwi crater have also indicated that the metasediments are volcanic-arc related. Compared to the average siderophile element contents of the upper continental crust, both country rocks and impact breccias of the Bosumtwi structure show elevated siderophile element contents. This, however, does not indicate the presence of an extraterrestrial component in Bosumtwi suevite, because the Birimian country rocks also have elevated siderophile element contents, which is thought to result from regional hydrothermal alteration that is also related to widespread sulfide and gold mineralization.


Alteration.;Bosumtwi Ghana Impact crater

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