The mesoproterozoic Stac Fada Member, NW Scotland : an impact origin confirmed but refined
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The origin of the Stac Fada Member has been debated for decades with several early hypotheses being proposed, but all invoking some connection to volcanic activity. In 2008, the discovery of shocked quartz led to the hypothesis that the Stac Fada Member represents part the continuous ejecta blanket of a meteorite impact crater, the location of which was, and remains, unknown. In this paper, we confirm the presence of shock-metamorphosed and -melted material in the Stac Fada Member; however, we also show that its properties are unlike any other confirmed and well documented proximal impact ejecta deposits on Earth. Instead, the properties of the Stac Fada Member are most similar to the Onaping Formation of the Sudbury impact structure (Canada) and impact melt-bearing breccias from the Chicxulub impact structure (Mexico). We thus propose that, like the Sudbury and Chicxulub deposits, Melt Fuel Coolant Interactions – akin to what occur during phreatomagmatic volcanic eruptions – played a fundamental role in the origin of the Stac Fada Member. We conclude that these rocks are not primary impact ejecta but instead were deposited beyond the extent of the continuous ejecta blanket as high-energy ground-hugging sediment gravity flows.
Osinski , G R , Ferrière , L , Hill , P J A , Prave , A R , Preston , L J , Singleton , A & Pickersgill , A E 2020 , ' The mesoproterozoic Stac Fada Member, NW Scotland : an impact origin confirmed but refined ' , Journal of the Geological Society , vol. Online First , jgs2020-056 . https://doi.org/10.1144/jgs2020-056
Journal of the Geological Society
Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). Published by the Geological Society of London. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1144/jgs2020-056.
DescriptionFunding to GRO from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant program and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Canadian Analogue Research Network and Field Investigation programs is gratefully acknowledged. Part of LF’s work was supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Government of Canada.
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