Browsing Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 38, Number 10 (2003) by Subjects
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The clay mineralogy of sediments related to the marine Mjølnir impact craterThe 40 km diameter Mjølnir Crater is located on the central Barents Sea shelf, north of Norway. It was formed about 142 +/- 2.6 Myr ago by the impact of a 1-2 km asteroid into the shallow shelf clays of the Hekkingen Formation and the underlying Triassic to Jurassic sedimentary strata. A core recovered from the central high within the crater contains slump and avalanche deposits from the collapse of the transient crater and central high. These beds are overlain by gravity flow conglomerates, with laminated shales and marls on top. Here, impact and post-impact deposits in this core are studied with focus on clay mineralogy obtained from XRD decomposition and simulation analysis methods. The clay-sized fractions are dominated by kaolinite, illite, mixed-layered clay minerals and quartz. Detailed analyses showed rather similar composition throughout the core, but some noticeable differences were detected, including varying crystal size of kaolinite and different types of illites and illite/smectite. These minerals may have been formed by diagenetic changes in the more porous/fractured beds in the crater compared to time-equivalent beds outside the crater rim. Long-term post-impact changes in clay mineralogy are assumed to have been minor, due to the shallow burial depth and minor thermal influence from impact-heated target rocks. Instead, the clay mineral assemblages, especially the abundance of chlorite, reflect the impact and post-impact reworking of older material. Previously, an ejecta layer (the Sindre Bed) was recognized in a nearby well outside the crater, represented by an increase in smectite-rich clay minerals, genetically equivalent to the smectite occurring in proximal ejecta deposits of the Chicxulub crater. Such alteration products from impact glasses were not detected in this study, indicating that little, if any, impact glass was deposited within the upper part of the crater fill. Crater-fill deposits inherited their mineral composition from Triassic and Jurassic sediments underlying the impact site.