The Haughton Impact Crater is located on Devon Island, within the arctic archipelago of Canada's Northwest Territories. Dry summers, harsh winters, and acidic soil conditions inhibit growth of vegetation and make this an ideal location for assessing lithological conditions via satellite image data. This nearly true-color image was generated from the blue, green, and near-infrared bands of the Thematic Mapper and shows the dramatic contrast between the crater breccias (Tib) and the surrounding lower Paleozoic rocks on which the crater was formed. The crater formed in the Allen Bay Formation (OSA) but penetrated and excavated older rocks as deep as 1800 meters below the surface. Dramatic north-south-trending bands discriminate various lithological units in the area because this assemblage developed a very slight westward tilt prior to the emplacement of unit K-T sometime during the late Cretaceous or Early Cenozoic Periods. Now the complete sequence is exposed along an east-west traverse; the oldest unit exposed is the Ordovician Bay Fiord Formation (OCB) located to the east of the crater. To the south of the crater, this unit is located 800–1000 meters below the surface but is exposed within the crater due to late-stage uplift accompanying the impact event itself. Younger units observed in this image include the tan-colored carbonates of the Silurian Cape Storm formation (SCS) and overlying, reddish-brown deposits of the Silurian Douro formation (SDO).
Processed Landsat TM Scene No. LT404404; image courtesy of V. L. Sharpton.