Meteoritics & Planetary Science is an international monthly journal of the Meteoritical Society—a scholarly organization promoting research and education in planetary science. Topics include the origin and history of the solar system, planets and natural satellites, interplanetary dust and interstellar medium, lunar samples, meteors and meteorites, asteroids, comets, craters, and tektites.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science was first published in 1935 under the title Contributions of the Society for Research on Meteorites. In 1947, the publication became known as Contributions of the Meteoritical Society and continued through 1951. From 1953 to 1995, the publication was known as Meteoritics, and in 1996, the journal's name was changed to Meteoritics & Planetary Science or MAPS. The journal was not published in 1952 and from 1957 to 1964.

This archive provides access to Meteoritics & Planetary Science Volumes 37-44 (2002-2009).

Visit Wiley Online Library for new and retrospective Meteoritics & Planetary Science content (1935-present).

ISSN: 1086-9379


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Recent Submissions

  • Effects of asteroid and comet impacts on habitats for lithophytic organisms—A synthesis

    Cockell, Charles S.; Lee, Pascal; Broady, Paul; Lim, Darlene S. S.; Osinski, Gordon R.; Parnell, John; Koeberl, Christian; Pesonen, Lauri; Salminen, Johanna (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Asteroid and comet impacts can have a profound influence on the habitats available for lithophytic microorganisms. Using evidence from the Haughton impact structure, Nunavut, Canadian High Arctic, we describe the role of impacts in influencing the nature of the lithophytic ecological niche. Impact-induced increases in rock porosity and fracturing can result in the formation of cryptoendolithic habitats. In some cases and depending upon the target material, an increase in rock translucence can yield new habitats for photosynthetic cryptoendoliths. Chasmoendolithic habitats are associated with cracks and cavities connected to the surface of the rock and are commonly increased in abundance as a result of impact bulking. Chasmoendolithic habitats require less specific geological conditions than are required for cryptoendolithic habitats, and their formation is likely to be common to most impact events. Impact events are unlikely to have an influence on epilithic and hypolithic habitats except in rare cases, where, for example, the formation of impact glasses might yield new hypolithic habitats. We present a synthetic understanding of the influence of asteroid and comet impacts on the availability and characteristics of rocky habitats for microorganisms.
  • A case study of impact-induced hydrothermal activity: The Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    Osinski, Gordon R.; Lee, Pascal; Parnell, John; Spray, John G.; Baron, Martin (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    The well-preserved state and excellent exposure at the 39 Ma Haughton impact structure, 23 km in diameter, allows a clearer picture to be made of the nature and distribution of hydrothermal deposits within mid-size complex impact craters. A moderate- to low-temperature hydrothermal system was generated at Haughton by the interaction of groundwaters with the hot impact melt breccias that filled the interior of the crater. Four distinct settings and styles of hydrothermal mineralization are recognized at Haughton: a) vugs and veins within the impact melt breccias, with an increase in intensity of alteration towards the base; b) cementation of brecciated lithologies in the interior of the central uplift; degrees C) intense veining around the heavily faulted and fractured outer margin of the central uplift; and d) hydrothermal pipe structures or gossans and mineralization along fault surfaces around the faulted crater rim. Each setting is associated with a different suite of hydrothermal minerals that were deposited at different stages in the development of the hydrothermal system. Minor, early quartz precipitation in the impact melt breccias was followed by the deposition of calcite and marcasite within cavities and fractures, plus minor celestite, barite, and fluorite. This occurred at temperatures of at least 200 degrees C and down to ~100-120 degrees C. Hydrothermal circulation through the faulted crater rim with the deposition of calcite, quartz, marcasite, and pyrite, occurred at similar temperatures. Quartz mineralization within breccias of the interior of the central uplift occurred in two distinct episodes (~250 down to ~90 degrees C, and <60 degrees C). With continued cooling (<90 degrees C), calcite and quartz were precipitated in vugs and veins within the impact melt breccias. Calcite veining around the outer margin of the central uplift occurred at temperatures of ~150 degrees C down to <60 degrees C. Mobilization of hydrocarbons from the country rocks occurred during formation of the higher temperature calcite veins (>80 degrees C). Appreciation of the structural features of impact craters has proven to be key to understanding the distribution of hydrothermal deposits at Haughton.
  • Intra-crater sedimentary deposits at the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    Osinski, Gordon R.; Lee, Pascal (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Detailed field mapping has revealed the presence of a series of intra-crater sedimentary deposits within the interior of the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. Coarse-grained, well-sorted, pale gray lithic sandstones (reworked impact melt breccias) unconformably overlie pristine impact melt breccias and attest to an episode of erosion, during which time significant quantities of impact melt breccias were removed. The reworked impact melt breccias are, in turn, unconformably overlain by paleolacustrine sediments of the Miocene Haughton Formation. Sediments of the Haughton Formation were clearly derived from pre-impact lower Paleozoic target rocks of the Allen Bay Formation, which form the crater rim in the northern, western, and southern regions of the Haughton structure. Collectively, these field relationships indicate that the Haughton Formation was deposited up to several million years after the formation of the Haughton crater and that they do not, therefore, represent an immediate, post-impact crater lake deposit. This is consistent with new isotopic dating of impactites from Haughton that indicate an Eocene age for the impact event (Sherlock et al. 2005). In addition, isolated deposits of post-Miocene intra-crater glacigenic and fluvioglacial sediments were found lying unconformably over remnants of the Haughton Formation, impact melt breccias, and other pre-impact target rock formations. These deposits provide clear evidence for glaciation at the Haughton crater. The wealth and complexity of geological and climatological information preserved as intra-crater deposits at Haughton suggests that craters on Mars with intra-crater sedimentary records might present us with similar opportunities, but also possibly significant challenges.
  • Application of organic geochemistry to detect signatures of organic matter in the Haughton impact structure

    Parnell, John; Lee, Pascal; Osinski, Gordon R.; Cockell, Charles S. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Organic geochemistry applied to samples of bedrock and surface sediment from the Haughton impact structure detects a range of signatures representing the impact event and the transfer of organic matter from the crater bedrock to its erosion products. The bedrock dolomite contains hydrocarbon-bearing fluid inclusions which were incorporated before the impact event. Comparison of biomarker data from the hydrocarbons in samples inside and outside of the crater show the thermal signature of an impact. The occurrence of hydrocarbon inclusions in hydrothermal mineral samples shows that organic matter was mobilized and migrated in the immediate aftermath of the impact. The hydrocarbon signature was then transferred from bedrock to the crater-fill lacustrine deposits and present-day sediments in the crater, including wind-blown detritus in snow/ice. Separate signatures are detected from modern microbial life in crater rock and sediment samples. Signatures in Haughton crater samples are readily detectable because they include hydrocarbons generated by the burial of organic matter. This type of organic matter is not expected in crater samples on other planets, but the Haughton data show that, using very high resolution detection of organic compounds, any signature of primitive life in the crater rocks could be transferred to surface detritus and so extend the sampling medium.
  • Tectonics of complex crater formation as revealed by the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    Osinski, Gordon R.; Spray, John G. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    The results of a systematic field mapping campaign at the Haughton impact structure have revealed new information about the tectonic evolution of mid-size complex impact structures. These studies reveal that several structures are generated during the initial compressive outward-directed growth of the transient cavity during the excavation stage of crater formation: (1) sub-vertical radial faults and fractures; (2) sub-horizontal bedding parallel detachment faults; and (3) minor concentric faults and fractures. Uplift of the transient cavity floor toward the end of the excavation stage produces a central uplift. Compressional inward-directed deformation results in the duplication of strata along thrust faults and folds. It is notable that Haughton lacks a central topographic peak or peak ring. The gravitational collapse of transient cavity walls involves the complex interaction of a series of interconnected radial and concentric faults. While the outermost concentric faults dip in toward the crater center, the majority of the innermost faults at Haughton dip away from the center. Complex interactions between an outward-directed collapsing central uplift and inward collapsing crater walls during the final stages of crater modification resulted in a structural ring of uplifted, intensely faulted (sub-) vertical and/or overturned strata at a radial distance from the crater center of ~5.0-6.5 km. Converging flow during the collapse of transient cavity walls was accommodated by the formation of several structures: (1) sub-vertical radial faults and folds; (2) positive flower structures and chaotically brecciated ridges; (3) rollover anticlines in the hanging-walls of major listric faults; and (4) antithetic faults and crestal collapse grabens. Oblique strike-slip (i.e., centripetal) movement along concentric faults also accommodated strain during the final stages of readjustment during the crater modification stage. It is clear that deformation during collapse of the transient cavity walls at Haughton was brittle and localized along discrete fault planes separating kilometer-size blocks.
  • Impactites of the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    Osinski, Gordon R.; Spray, John G.; Lee, Pascal (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Contrary to the previous interpretation of a single allochthonous impactite lithology, combined field, optical, and analytical scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies have revealed the presence of a series of impactites at the Haughton impact structure. In the crater interior, there is a consistent upward sequence from parautochthonous target rocks overlain by parautochthonous lithic (monomict) breccias, through allochthonous lithic (polymict) breccia, into pale grey allochthonous impact melt breccias. The groundmass of the pale grey impact melt breccias consists of microcrystalline calcite, silicate impact melt glass, and anhydrite. Analytical data and microtextures indicate that these phases represent a series of impact-generated melts that were molten at the time of, and following, deposition. Impact melt glass clasts are present in approximately half of the samples studied. Consideration of the groundmass phases and impact glass clasts reveal that impactites of the crater interior contain shock-melted sedimentary material from depths of >920 to <1880 m in the pre-impact target sequence. Two principal impactites have been recognized in the near-surface crater rim region of Haughton. Pale yellow-brown allochthonous impact melt breccias and megablocks are overlain by pale grey allochthonous impact melt breccias. The former are derived from depths of >200 to <760 m and are interpreted as remnants of the continuous ejecta blanket. The pale grey impact melt breccias, although similar to the impact melt breccias of the crater interior, are more carbonate-rich and do not appear to have incorporated clasts from the crystalline basement. Thus, the spatial distribution of the crater-fill impactites at Haughton, the stratigraphic succession from target rocks to allochthonous impactites, the recognition of large volumes of impact melt breccias, and their probable original volume are all analogous to characteristics of coherent impact melt layers in comparatively sized structures formed in crystalline targets.
  • Re-evaluating the age of the Haughton impact event

    Sherlock, Sarah C.; Kelley, Simon P.; Parnell, John; Green, Paul; Lee, Pascal; Osinski, Gordon R.; Cockell, Charles S. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    We have re-evaluated the published age information for the Haughton impact structure, which was believed to have formed ~23 Ma ago during the Miocene age, and report new Ar/Ar laser probe data from shocked basement clasts. This reveals an Eocene age, which is at odds with the published Miocene stratigraphic, apatite fission track and Ar/Ar data; we discuss our new data within this context. We have found that the age of the Haughton impact structure is ~39 Ma, which has implications for both crater recolonization models and post-impact hydrothermal activity. Future work on the relationship between flora and fauna within the crater, and others at high latitude, may resolve this paradox.
  • Spaceborne visible and thermal infrared lithologic mapping of impact-exposed subsurface lithologies at the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic: Applications to Mars

    Tornabene, Livio L.; Moersch, Jeffrey E.; Osinski, Gordon R.; Lee, Pascal; Wright, Shawn P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    This study serves as a proof-of-concept for the technique of using visible-near infrared (VNIR), short-wavelength infrared (SWIR), and thermal infrared (TIR) spectroscopic observations to map impact-exposed subsurface lithologies and stratigraphy on Earth or Mars. The topmost layer, three subsurface layers and undisturbed outcrops of the target sequence exposed just 10 km to the northeast of the 23 km diameter Haughton impact structure (Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada) were mapped as distinct spectral units using Landsat 7 ETM+ (VNIR/SWIR) and ASTER (VNIR/SWIR/TIR) multispectral images. Spectral mapping was accomplished by using standard image contrast-stretching algorithms. Both spectral matching and deconvolution algorithms were applied to image-derived ASTER TIR emissivity spectra using spectra from a library of laboratory-measured spectra of minerals (Arizona State University) and whole-rocks (Ward's). These identifications were made without the use of a priori knowledge from the field (i.e., a "blind" analysis). The results from this analysis suggest a sequence of dolomitic rock (in the crater rim), limestone (wall), gypsum-rich carbonate (floor), and limestone again (central uplift). These matched compositions agree with the lithologic units and the pre-impact stratigraphic sequence as mapped during recent field studies of the Haughton impact structure by Osinski et al. (2005a). Further conformation of the identity of image-derived spectra was confirmed by matching these spectra with laboratory-measured spectra of samples collected from Haughton. The results from the "blind" remote sensing methods used here suggest that these techniques can also be used to understand subsurface lithologies on Mars, where ground truth knowledge may not be generally available.
  • Geological overview and cratering model for the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    Osinski, Gordon R.; Lee, Pascal; Spray, John G.; Parnell, John; Lim, Darlene S. S.; Bunch, Theodore E.; Cockell, Charles S.; Glass, Brian (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    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 ~1880 m. New 40Ar-39Ar dates place the impact event at ~39 Ma, in the late Eocene. Haughton has an apparent crater diameter of ~23 km, with an estimated rim (final crater) diameter of ~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 intracrater lacustrine sediments of the Haughton Formation during the Miocene. Present-day intracrater 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.