Geological overview and cratering model for the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

Osinski, G. R.; Lee, P.; Spray, J. G.; Parnell, J.; Lim, D. S. S.; Bunch, T. E.; Cockell, C. and Glass, B. (2005). Geological overview and cratering model for the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 40(12) pp. 1759–1776.



The Haughton impact structure has been the focus of systematic, multi-disciplinary field and laboratory research activities over the past several years. Regional geological mapping has refined the sedimentary target stratigraphy and constrained the thickness of the sedimentary sequence at the time of impact to similar to 1880 m. New Ar-40-Ar-39 dates place the impact event at similar to 39 Ma, in the late Eocene. Haughton has an apparent crater diameter of similar to 23 km, with an estimated run (final crater) diameter of similar to 16 km. The structure lacks a central topographic peak or peak ring, which is unusual for craters of this size. Geological mapping and sampling reveals that a series of different impactites are present at Haughton. The volumetrically dominant crater-fill impact melt breccias contain a calcite-anhydrite-silicate glass groundmass, all of which have been shown to represent impact-generated melt phases. These impactites are, therefore, stratigraphically and genetically equivalent to coherent impact melt rocks present in craters developed in crystalline targets. The crater-fill impactites provided a heat source that drove a post-impact hydrothermal system. During this time. Haughton would have represented a transient, warm, wet microbial oasis. A subsequent episode of erosion, during which time substantial amounts of impactites were removed, was followed by the deposition of intra-crater lacustrine sediments of the Haughton Formation during the Miocene. Present-day intra-crater lakes and ponds preserve a detailed paleoenvironmental record dating back to the last glaciation in the High Arctic. Modern modification of the landscape is dominated by seasonal regional glacial and niveal melting, and local periglacial processes. The impact processing of target materials improved the opportunities for colonization and has provided several present-day habitats suitable for microbial life that otherwise do not exist in the surrounding terrain.

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