A Caltech Library Service

Compositional Heterogeneity of Impact Melt Rocks at the Haughton Impact Structure, Canada: Implications for Planetary Processes and Remote Sensing

Greenberger, Rebecca N. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Osinski, Gordon R. and Tornabene, Livio L. and Green, Robert O. (2020) Compositional Heterogeneity of Impact Melt Rocks at the Haughton Impact Structure, Canada: Implications for Planetary Processes and Remote Sensing. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 125 (10). Art. No. e2019JE006218. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2019je006218.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] MS Word - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Connecting the surface expression of impact crater‐related lithologies to planetary or regional subsurface compositions requires an understanding of material transport during crater formation. Here, we use imaging spectroscopy of six clast‐rich impact melt rock outcrops within the well‐preserved 23.5‐Ma, 23‐km diameter Haughton impact structure, Canada, to determine melt rock composition and spatial heterogeneity. We compare results from outcrop to outcrop, using clasts, groundmass, and integrated clast‐groundmass compositions as tracers of transport during crater‐fill melt rock formation and cooling. Supporting laboratory imaging spectroscopy analyses of 91 melt‐bearing breccia and clast samples and microscopic X‐ray fluorescence elemental mapping of cut samples paired with spectroscopy of identical surfaces validate outcrop‐scale lithological determinations. Results show different clast‐rich impact melt rock compositions at three sites kilometers apart and an inverse correlation between silica‐rich (sandstone, gneiss, and phyllosilicate‐rich shales) and gypsum‐rich rocks that suggests differences in source depth with location. In the target stratigraphy, gypsum is primarily sourced from ~1‐km depth, while gneiss is from >1.8‐km depth, sandstone from >1.3 km, and shales from ~1.6–1.7 km. Observed heterogeneities likely result from different excavation depths coupled with rapid quenching of the melt due to high content of cool clasts. Results provide quantitative constraints for numerical models of impact structure formation and give new details on melt rock heterogeneity important in interpreting mission data and planning sample return of impactites, particularly for bodies with impacts into sedimentary and volatile‐bearing targets, e.g., Mars and Ceres.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Greenberger, Rebecca N.0000-0003-1583-0261
Ehlmann, Bethany L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Osinski, Gordon R.0000-0002-1832-5925
Tornabene, Livio L.0000-0002-1479-6711
Green, Robert O.0000-0001-9447-3076
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Issue Online: 02 October 2020; Version of Record online: 02 October 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 07 August 2020; Manuscript accepted: 28 July 2020; Manuscript revised: 24 July 2020; Manuscript received: 04 October 2019. We gratefully acknowledge the other members of the field team (Chris Carr, Byung‐Hun Choe, Shamus Duff, Etienne Godin, Anna Grau, Elise Harrington, Mark Jellinek, Anterro Kukko, Catherine Neish, Jen Newman, Alex Pontefract, and Mike Zanetti), especially for packing up camp to allow us to image two last sites, while twin otters were en route during a sudden early pullout on the first cloudless day and for giving us ATV's whenever the sun showed signs of coming out. We thank Aaron Celestian at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum for assistance in acquiring XRF data. We also are grateful to the Polar Continental Shelf Program for logistical support. RNG was supported by a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship, administered by Universities Space Research Association, with an appointment at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and also thanks a grant from the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research for contributing toward travel costs. BLE acknowledges support from the Rose Hills Foundation and a NASA Planetary Major Equipment grant (NNX13AG74G). GRO acknowledges support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Discovery Grant and Northern Research Supplement programs. We thank Patrick Pinet, four anonymous reviewers, and Editor David Baratoux for their helpful comments that improved this paper. Data Availability Statement: Imaging spectroscopy and XRF data sets for this research are available at the Zenodo repository (Greenberger et al., 2020):
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Rose Hills FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Haughton; hyperspectral imaging; imaging spectroscopy; impact crater; impact melt
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200818-105138126
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Greenberger, R. N., Ehlmann, B. L., Osinski, G. R., Tornabene, L. L., & Green, R. O. (2020). Compositional heterogeneity of impact melt rocks at the Haughton impact structure, Canada: Implications for planetary processes and remote sensing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2019JE006218.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104997
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Aug 2020 18:15
Last Modified:01 Jun 2023 22:47

Repository Staff Only: item control page