Large Canadian Impact Crater Formed During Episode of Asteroid Bombardment and Orogeny

 

The large Charlevoix impact structure, Québec, in the field. Left: A large shatter cone, a hallmark of meteorite impact, in tilted strata of Ordovician limestone along the northern St. Lawrence River shoreline. Right: Panoramic view from the summit of Mont des Éboulements (center of the eroded crater) towards the St. Lawrence River, the Île aux Coudres, and the Appalachians. Image credit: Elmar Buchner, Martin Schmieder.

The large Charlevoix impact structure, Québec, in the field. Left: A large shatter cone, a hallmark of meteorite impact, in tilted strata of Ordovician limestone along the northern St. Lawrence River shoreline. Right: Panoramic view from the summit of Mont des Éboulements (center of the eroded crater) towards the St. Lawrence River, the Île aux Coudres, and the Appalachians. Image credit: Elmar Buchner, Martin Schmieder.

After a large collision in the asteroid belt some 470 million years ago (in Ordovician times), many asteroid fragments were tossed into Earth-crossing orbits, collided with the Earth, and produced impact craters. The 54 kilometer-in-diameter Charlevoix impact structure in Quebec, Canada, was formed then, based on new uranium-lead dating of zircon grains, led by Martin Schmieder at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. However, this giant impact crater didn’t last long. Soon after its formation, it was buried and deformed by the plate-tectonic processes that built the early Appalachian Mountains. The crater is visible now on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River because the Appalachian-age sediments have been eroded away.

Source: Schmieder, M., Shaulis, B.J., Lapen, T.J., Buchner, E. and Kring, D.A., 2019. In situ U–Pb analysis of shocked zircon from the Charlevoix impact structure, Québec, Canada. Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in press), DOI: 10.1111/maps.13315.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/maps.13315

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