The University of Arizona

Uppermost impact fallback layer in the Bosumtwi crater (Ghana): Mineralogy, geochemistry, and comparison with Ivory Coast tektites



In 2004, an International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) drilling project at the Bosumtwi impact crater, Ghana (10.5 km in diameter, 1.07 Myr old), was performed to study the sediments that fill the lake as well as the underlying impactites. In one (LB-05) of 16 cores drilled into the lake sediments, the zone between the impact breccias and the post-impact sediments was penetrated, preserving the final, fine-grained impact fallback layer. This ~30 cm thick layer contains in the top 10 cm "accretionary" lapilli, microtektite-like glass spherules, and shocked quartz grains. Glass particlesmostly of splash form less than 1 mm size--make up the bulk of the grains (~70-78% by number) in the coarser size fraction (>125 μm) of the top of the fallback layer. About one-third of all quartz grains in the uppermost part of the layer are shocked, with planar deformation features (PDFs); almost half of these grains are highly shocked, with 3 or more sets of PDFs. K-feldspar grains also occur and some show shock deformation. The abundance of shocked quartz grains and the average shock level as indicated by the number of sets of PDFs, for both quartz and K-feldspar, decrease with depth into the layer. The well-preserved glass spherules and fragments are chemically rather homogeneous within each particle, and also show relatively small variations between the various particles. On average, the composition of the fallback spherules from core LB-5B is very similar to the composition of Ivory Coast tektites and microtektites, with the exception of CaO contents, which are about 1.5 to 2 times higher in the fallback spherules. This is a rare case in which the uppermost fallback layer and the transition to the post-impact sediments has been preserved in an impact structure; its presence indicates that the impactite sequence at Bosumtwi is complete and that Bosumtwi is a very well-preserved impact crater.


glasses.;Bosumtwi Ghana Impact crater;processes;Impact

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