The University of Arizona

Impactites as a random mediumUsing variations in physical properties to assess heterogeneity within the Bosumtwi meteorite impact crater



The recent drilling of the Bosumtwi impact structure, Ghana, has provided a unique opportunity to study the petrophysical properties of a young, well-preserved impact crater. The damage induced by impact results in extensive fracturing and mixing of target materials. We discuss here a means of using sonic velocity and density logs from two boreholes through the Bosumtwi crater fill and basement to estimate the degree of heterogeneity and fracturing within the impacted target, in order to understand the discrepancy between the large impedances derived from the log data and the nonreflective zone of impactites observed in seismic sections. Based on an analysis of the stochastic fluctuations in the log data, the Bosumtwi impactites are characterized by vertical scale lengths of 23 m. From the resolution of the seismic data over the crater, horizontal scale lengths are estimated at <12 m. The impactites therefore fall within the quasi-homogeneous scattering regime, i.e., seismic energy will propagate through the medium with little disruption. Scale lengths as small as these are observed in the fractured basement rocks of impact structures, whereas non-impact related crystalline environments are characterized by scale lengths an order of magnitude larger. Assuming that the high-frequency fluctuations observed in the log data are more sensitive to fracture distribution than petrology, this suggests that the small scale lengths observed within impact structures are characteristic of impact-induced damage, and could be used to estimate the extent of fracturing undergone by the rocks at any depth below an impact structure.


Bosumtwi Ghana Impact crater;Seismic scattering;Heterogeneity;Petrophysics

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