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November 29, 2008
UPHEAVAL DOME: CONFIRMATION OF IMPACT ORIGIN
Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands, Utah 9-23-2008
Kurt A. Fisher
, Salt Lake City, Utah, Image processing by H. Jackman
Click for high resolution
In March 2008,
, a geologist with Humboldt University in Berlin (after six years of research), and Elmar Buchner of the University of Stuttgart, provided conclusive evidence that the
, an impact-shaped feature in
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
, was caused by a meteor strike.
Buchner and Kenkmann
located planar deformation features (PDFs) in quartz crystals embedded in the outer sandstone ring of this
two ring crater
PDFs are microscopic fractures
in quartz crystals that correlate with the intensity of a shock impact experienced by the cyrstal. These PDFs evidence a shock wave greater than 10 gigapascals travelled through Upheaval's sandstone outer ring, unambigously showing a shock generated wave of non-terresterial origin. The feature that we see today is not the original 170 million year old impact crater. The original crater was around 8 kilometers in diameter and extended between 1 and 2 kilometers above the south rim view area shown here. 155 million years ago, Upheaval Dome probably looked something like the 4 kilometer diameter
in Bavaria, or the 2.5 kilometer blown-sand filled
Roter Kamm Crater
in Nambia. Subsequent uplift and erosion removed this overburden, leaving this unique 3 kilometer diameter dissection of what the geologic layers might look like at or beneath the surface of an analogous lunar
Several traces of the impact
are seen in rock from the south rim view area: a fractured
, radial faults in the inner ring wall, 30 meter tall displaced blocks, verge or circular faulting in the central uplift and melted sandstone dikes near the impact center.
Kurt A. Fisher
Akkana Peck's phototour into the central ring
David North's phototour into the central ring
John Louie's phototour during seismic mapping of the Dome
Akkana Peck's phototour hiking along rim
Buckner and Kenkmann (2008). Upheaval Dome, Utah, USA: Impact origin confirmed.
Huntoon, P.W. (2000) Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands, Utah: Strain indicators that reveal an impact origin.
Kurt's hyperlink bibliography to major journal articles
U.S. Park Serv. Interactive Geologic Atlas of Canyonlands.
C. Koeberl and V.L. Sharpton (LPI). Terresterial Impacts Craters 2nd
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