The University of Arizona

Constraints on central uplift structure from the Manicouagan impact crater



Recent drilling operations at the 90 km diameter, late Triassic Manicouagan impact crater of Quebec, Canada, have provided new insight into the internal structure of a complex craters central region. Previous work had indicated that the impact event generated a ~55 km diameter sheet of molten rock of relatively consistent (originally ~400 m) thickness (Floran et al. 1978). The drilling data reveals melt sheet thicknesses of up to ~1500 m, with kilometer-scale lateral and substantial vertical variations in the geometry of the crater floor beneath the melt sheet. The thickest melt section occurs in a 1500 m deep central trough encircled by a horseshoe-shaped uplift of Precambrian basement. The uplift constitutes a modified central peak structure, at least part of which breached the melt sheet. Mineralogical and compositional segregation (differentiation) of the thicker melt sheet section, coupled with a lack of fractionation in the thinner units, shows that the footwall geometry and associated trough structure were in place prior to melt sheet solidification. Marked lateral changes in sub-melt sheet (basement) relief support the existence of a castellated footwall that was created by high-angle, impact-related offsets of 100s to 1000s of meters. This indicates that deformation during the modification stage of the cratering process was primarily facilitated by large-displacement fault systems. This work suggests that Manicouagan is a central peak basin with rings, which does not appear to fit with current complex crater classification schemes.


complex Craters;Manicouagan Impact Crater;Quebec;Canada;Impact tectonics;Impact melting

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