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Nico Berger (2014): Analysis of a possible Meteorite impact in the Prims river area (Nalbach, Saarland, Germany).

Diploma thesis, University of Trier (Germany), Department of Geography and Geosciences

Abstract

In 2009 during honorary archeological field work by Werner Müller , finds of various glasses, melt rocks and other peculiar rocks suggest ed a possible young meteorite impact in the region of the Saarland Prims river (Müller 2011, 2012; see the contributions in this Scribd account). The 103 pages diploma thesis (in German) by Nico Berger address es these finds and describes methods of investigation and results with emphasis on thin section inspection. The discussion chapters in particular focus on abundant evidence of strong shock metamorphism. Whole quartzite cobbles are more or less completely t ransferred to diaplectic glass, embedded sanidine crystals included. In 13 out of 23 investigated thin sections ballen structures are very common, and in several thin sections ballen structures were observed together with cristobalite merging into tridymit e. Moreover toasted quartz occurs as evidence for shock. Planar deformation features (PDFs) are rare, but quartz grains with spotty diaplectic glass and

sets (up to seven per grain) of multiple planar fractures (PFs) are observed. Spallation is

a very comm on shock effect in the form of macroscopic open, tensile, glass- filled

fractures in quartzite cobbles as well as on a microscopic scale in individual quartz grains. Strongly kinked biotites show a high frequency of closely spaced kink bands with asymmetric kink - band angles. Together with the occurrence of multiple sets of planar features these biotites are attributed also to shock since in the Nalbach region an origin from very strong tectonics can basically be excluded. Such is the case also for the abundant occurrence of heavily damaged quartz grains frequently nearly pulverized although remained coherent.

Presumed impact g lasses from the place of discovery are multicolored green, blue and black with transitions and schlieren texture and contain metallic spherules and shocked rock fragments distinguis hing them from industrial glasses produced in the Nalb a ch region .

Altogether it is concluded that the observation of abundant strongest shock effects can only be explained by a meteorite impact event very probably in the Holocene , and the many similarities with published impact feat ures in the Chiemgau region (Holocene Chiemgau impact event) are pointed out.

A hitherto lacking impact crater may be explained by a more distant impact location still

awaiting discovery , by a young alluvial overprint , or by a v ery strong meteoritic airburst.

Content

1 Introduction

3

Area of investigation (geologic context)

4

Material and methods

4.1

Sample description

4.2

Descrip tion of applied methods

4.2.1

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

4.2.2

X - ray diffractometry (XRD)

4.2.3

Elemental ana lyzer (carbon and sulfur)

4.2.4

Loss of ignition

4.2.5

Atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS)

4.2.6

Thin sections

5

Results

5.1

SEM

5.2

XRD

5.3

Loss of ignition

5.4

Carbon and sulfur analyzer

5.5

AAS

5.6

This sections

5.6.1

Shock effects in thin sections

5.6.1.1

Diap lectic glass

5.6.1.2

Ballen structures

5.6.1.3

planar fractures (PFs)

5.6.1.4

planar deformations features (PDFs)

5.6.1.5

irregular fractures in quartz

5.6.1.6

Spallation

5.6.1.7

Kink banding in mica

5.6.2

Glasses

5.6.2.1

Glasses from the field

5.6.2.2

For comparison: industrial glass

6

Discussion and conclusions

7

Bottom line and outlook

8

Figure index

9

Table index

10

References

11

Appendix

The full thesis can also be downloaded in the present Scribd account.