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Platinum-group elements in the Morokweng impact structure, South Africa: evidence for the impact of a large ordinary chondrite projectile at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary

McDonald, Iain, Andreoli, M. A. G., Hart, R. J. and Tredoux, M. 2001. Platinum-group elements in the Morokweng impact structure, South Africa: evidence for the impact of a large ordinary chondrite projectile at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65 (2) , pp. 299-309. 10.1016/S0016-7037(00)00527-5

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Abstract

Radiometric dating of melt rocks at impact craters has revealed that some giant impacts appear to overlap in time with major boundaries in Earth history [e.g., the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K/T) and Jurassic–Cretaceous (J/K) boundaries]. The Morokweng impact crater in South Africa is coincident in age with the J/K boundary. However, the types of objects that generate large craters are poorly known because it is difficult to unambiguously identify the projectile from the signature it imparts into the impact rocks. Meteorites are highly enriched in the platinum-group elements (PGE), which have been widely used as a tool for identifying the presence of a meteorite signature. Here we present new PGE analyses from the Morokweng impact melt sheet. Our data reveal high PGE concentrations and high degree of PGE correlation through the melt sheet. Regression analysis was used to determine the projectile PGE signature and constrain input from the terrestrial target rocks. The closest match to Morokweng is the PGE signature of ordinary (L or LL) chondrite meteorites, which is broadly in agreement with the results of an earlier Cr isotope study. The results of these independent studies provide strong evidence that a large, ordinary chondrite projectile struck the area of Morokweng in the late Jurassic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
ISSN: 00167037
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:39
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/1250

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