The University of Arizona

Drill core LB-08A, Bosumtwi impact structure, Ghana: Geochemistry of fallback breccia and basement samples from the central uplift



The 1.07 Myr old Bosumtwi impact structure in Ghana (West Africa), which measures 10.5 km in diameter and is largely filled by Lake Bosumtwi, is associated with one of four currently known tektite strewn fields. Two boreholes were drilled to acquire hard-rock samples of the deep crater moat and from the flank of the central uplift (LB-07A and LB-08A, respectively) during a recent ICDP-sponsored drilling project. Here we present results of major and trace element analysis of 112 samples from drill core LB-08A. This core, which was recovered between 235.6 and 451.33 m depth below lake level, contains polymict lithic breccia intercalated with suevite, which overlies fractured/brecciated metasediment. The basement is dominated by meta-graywacke (from fine-grained to gritty), but also includes some phyllite and slate, as well as suevite dikelets and a few units of a distinct light greenish gray, medium-grained meta-graywacke. Most of the variations of the major and trace element abundances in the different lithologies result from the initial compositional variations of the various target rock types, as well as from aqueous alteration processes, which have undeniably affected the different rocks. Suevite from core LB-08A (fallback suevite) and fallout suevite samples (from outside the northern crater rim) display some differences in major (mainly in MgO, CaO, and Na2O contents) and minor (mainly Cr and Ni) element abundances that could be related to the higher degree of alteration of fallback suevites, but also result from differences in the clast populations of the two suevite populations. For example, granite clasts are present in fallout suevite but not in fallback breccia, and calcite clasts are present in fallback breccia and not in fallout suevite. Chondrite-normalized rare earth element abundance patterns for polymict impact breccia and basement samples are very similar to each other. Siderophile element contents in the impact breccias are not significantly different from those of the metasediments, or compared to target rocks from outside the crater rim. So far, no evidence for a meteoritic component has been detected in polymict impact breccias during this study, in agreement with previous work.


Breccia;Bosumtwi Ghana Impact crater;polymict;Suevitic rock

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