Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 72, Issue 1–3, pp 377–393

The impact cratering record of Fennoscandia

  • L. J. Pesonen


The current database of craterform structures in Fennoscandia contains 22 structures of impact origin and about fifty other structures which lack sufficient evidence for impact. The discovery rate of new structures has been one or two per year during the past ten years. The proven impact structures are located in southern Fennoscandia and the majority have been found in Proterozoic target rocks. The age of the structures varies from prehistoric to ≤ 1000 Ma and their diameters (D) from 0.04 km to 55 km. Nine of the structures contain impact melt. A characteristic feature of the Fennoscandian impact record is a relatively large number of small (≤ 5 km) but old (> 200 Ma) structures: this is a result of success of geophysical methods to discover small but old impact structures in an eroded shield covered with relatively thin overburden. Some of the large circular structures in satellite images and/or in geophysical maps may represent deeply eroded scars of very old impacts, but due to the lack of shock metamorphic features, impact-generated rocks or identified ejecta layers, they cannot yet be classified as impact sites. Two huge structures are proposed here as possible impact sites on the basis of circular satellite images and distinct geophysical anomalies: the Lycksele structure in northern Sweden (D ~ 120 km, see also Witschard, 1984) and the Valga structure in Latvia/Estonia (D ~ 180 km). However, endogeneous explanations, like buried granites, basement domings, or fault-bounded blocks are also possible for these structures. Hints, such as distal ejecta layers or impact produced breccia dykes, of an Archaean or Early Proterozoic impact structure have not been found in Fennoscandia so far. New ways of searching for these structures are proposed with particular emphasis on high-resolution integrated geophysical methods. The impact cratering rate in Fennoscandia is ~ 2.0 · 10−14 km−2 a−1 (for craters with D > 3 km) corresponding to about two events per every 100 Ma for the last 700 Ma. Due to erosion, this is a minimal estimate but is higher than the global rate probably due to strong research activity for finding impact structures in Fennoscandia.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. J. Pesonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Palaeomagnetism, Geophysics DepartmentGeological Survey of FinlandEspooFinland

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