Permian Impact Crater Field Hypothesized in Wyoming

Google Earth image of Sheep Mountain near Douglas, WY, featuring a fossil strewn field of small impact craters.

Google Earth image of Sheep Mountain near Douglas, WY, featuring a fossil strewn field of small impact craters.

More than thirty circular and ellipsoidal geologic structures, up to 66 meters across and many of them with an overturned rim and ejecta typical of simple impact craters, have been discovered at Sheep Mountain near Douglas, Wyoming. The impact hypothesis, proposed by Dr. Thomas Kenkmann (University of Freiburg, Germany), is supported by the presence of of shock metamorphic effects in quartz crystals from samples near these structures. The field of impact craters, possibly as long as 33 km and one of the largest in the world, probably formed in the Permian, approximately 280 million years ago.

Link to article: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2018/pdf/1469.pdf

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