Skip to main content

Iron-nickel metallic components bearing silicate-melts and coesite from Ramgarh impact structure, west-central India: Possible identification of the impactor

Abstract

The Ramgarh structure (rim-to-rim diameter ~2.4 km) in the Vindhyan Supergroup of sedimentary rocks (including sandstone, shale and minor limestone) of the Mesoproterozoic age in the west-central India, is India’s third confirmed asteroid impact crater. This eroded structure is roughly rectangular in shape and resembles to the Barringer Crater, USA. The presence of central peak and its current crater diameter/depth ratio of ~12 well corroborate the range (10–20) of terrestrial complex asteroid impact craters. The mm-sized, iron-rich (FeO ~50 wt.% in average), spherule-like particles, recovered from the alluvium inside the Ramgarh structure, have internal morphology similar to those of the accretionary lapilli described in known impact craters. The in-situ LA-ICP-MS analyses also suggested high Co–Ni (up to 13,000 and 2500 ppm, respectively)-rich areas locally within these spherules/lapilli. A few non-in-situ, mm-sized particles, recovered from the rim of the structure show the presence of coesite, one of the diagnostic indicators of shock metamorphism. A few fragments of iron-rich, Ca–Al–silicate glasses recovered from the soil inside the structure and outside of the western crater rim include the presence of dendritic magnetite with occasional inclusions of relict native iron. Our microprobe analyses confirm that these metallic irons contain high proportions of Co (~350–3000 ppm), Ni (~200–4000 ppm) and Cu (~2200–7000 ppm) and possibly could be the relict component of a Cu-rich iron meteorite impactor. The field observation and relative enrichment of compatible and incompatible trace elements in the spherule-like substance (recovered from the alluvium inside the Ramgarh structure) as compared to target rocks suggests that hydrothermal activity played an important role in the evolution of the crater.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9

References

  • Ahmed N, Bhardwaj B D, Sajid H A and Hasnain I 1974 Ramgarh Meteorite Crater; Curr. Sci. 43 598.

    Google Scholar 

  • Auden J B 1933 Vindhyan sedimentation in the Son valley, Mirzapur district; Geol. Surv. India Memoir 62 141–250.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benedix G K, Haack H and McCoy T J 2014 Iron and stony-iron meteorites; In: Meteorites and cosmochemical processes (ed.) Davis A M, Treatise on Geochemistry (2nd edn), Elsevier (Amsterdam), Vol. 1, 267–285.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chakraborty C 2006 Proterozoic intracontinental basin: The Vindhyan example; J. Earth Syst. Sci. 115 3–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chalapathi Rao N V, Reed S J B, Pyle D M and Beattie P D 1996 Larnitic kirschsteinite from the Kotakonda kimberlite, Andhra Pradesh, India; Mineral. Mag. 60 513–516.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen J, Elmi C, Goldsby D L and Giere R 2017 Generation of shock lamellae and melting in rocks by lightning-induced shock waves and electrical heating; Geophys. Res. Lett. 44, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017gl073843.

  • Choi B, Ouyang X and Wasson J T 1995 Classification and origin of IAB and IIICD iron meteorites; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59 593–612.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crawford A R 1972 Possible impact structure in India; Nature 237 96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Das P K, Misra S, Basavaiah N, Newsom H and Dube A 2009 Rock magnetic evidence of asteroid impact origin of Ramgarh structure, India; 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abs. no. 1466.

  • Das P K, Misra S, Newsom H E and Sisodia M S 2011 Possible planer fractures, coesite, and accretionary lapilli from Ramgarh structure, India: New evidence suggesting an impact origin of the crater; 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, abs. no. 1294.

  • Dressler B O and Reimold W U 2001 Terrestrial impact melt rocks and glasses; Earth Sci. Rev. 56 205–284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Evans N J, Gregorie D C, Grieve R A F, Goodfellow W D and Veizer J 1993 Use of platinum-group elements for impactor identification: Terrestrial impact craters and Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 57 3737–3748.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher R V and Schmincke H-U 1984 Pyroclastic Rocks; Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 412p.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folco L and Mellini M 1997 Crystal chemistry of meteoritic kirschsteinite; European J. Mineral. 9 969–973.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fredriksson K, Dube A, Milton D J and Balasundaram M S 1973 Lonar lake, India: An impact crater in basalt; Science 180 862–864.

    Google Scholar 

  • French B M 1998 Traces of catastrophe: A handbook of shock-metamorphic effects in terrestrial meteorite impact structures; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Contribution no. 954, 120p.

  • French B M and Koeberl C 2010 The convincing identification of terrestrial meteorite impact structures What works, what doesn’t, and why; Earth-Sci. Rev. 98 123–170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gold T and Soter S 1976 Cometary impact and the magnetization of the Moon; Planet. Space Sci. 24 45–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grant J A 1999 Evaluating the evolution of process specific degradation signatures around asteroid impact craters; Int. J. Impact Engineer. 23 331–340.

    Google Scholar 

  • Graup G 1981 Terrestrial chondrules, glass spherules and accretionary lapilli from the suevite, Ries Crater, Germany; Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 55 407–418.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grieve R A F, Wood C A, Garvin J B, Mclaughlin G and McHone J F 1988 Astronaut’s guide to terrestrial asteroid impact craters; Lunar and Planetary Institute Technical Report 88-03, Houston, 89p.

  • Jambon A, Barrat J A, Boudouma O, Fonteilles M, Badia D, Göpel C and Bohn M 2005 Mineralogy and petrology of the angrite Northwest Africa 1296; Meteor. Planet. Sci. 40 361–375.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jochum K P, Weis U, Stoll B, Kuzmin D, Yang Q, Raczek I, Jacob D E, Stracke A, Birbaum K, Frick D A, Gunther D and Enzweiler J 2011 Determination of reference values for NIST SRM 610-617 Glasses following ISO guidelines; Geostandards Geoanal. Res. 35(4) 397–429.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones A P, Kearsley A T, Friend C R L, Robin E, Beard A, Tamura A, Trickett S and Claeys P 2005 Are there signs of a large Paleocene impact, preserved around Disko Bay, West Greenland? Nuussuaq spherule beds origin by impact instead of volcanic eruption? In: Large meteorite impacts III (eds) Kenkmann T, Horz F and Deutsch A, Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper 384 281–298.

  • Kenkmann T 2019 Update of the terrestrial impact crater record: Crater discovery statistics, size and age frequency distributions, Large Meteorite Impacts (LPI Contrib. No. 2136).

  • Kenkmann T, Wulf G and Agarwal A 2019 India’s third impact crater: Ramgarh, Rajasthan, Large Meteorite Impacts VI (LPI Contrib. No. 2136).

  • Kieffer S W, Schaal R B, Gibbons R, Hörz F, Milton D J and Dube A 1976 Shocked basalt from Lonar asteroid impact crater, India and experimental analogues; Proceedings 7th Lunar Science Conference, pp. 1391–1412.

  • Koeberl C, Brandstätter F, Glass B P, Hecht L, Mader D and Reimold W U 2007 Uppermost impact fall back layer in the Bosumtwi crater (Ghana): Mineralogy, geochemistry, and comparison with Ivory Coast tektites; Meteor. Planet. Sci. 42 709–729.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koeberl C and Sharpton V L 2017 Terrestrial asteroid impact craters (2nd edn), www.lpi.usra.edu/publications/slidesets/craters.

  • Krot A N, Keil K, Goodrich C A, Scott E R D and Weisberg M K 2004 Classification of Meteorites; In: Treatise on Geochemistry (ed.) Davis A M, Meteorites, Comets, and Planets, Elsevier, Oxford, vol. 1, pp. 83–128.

  • Kring D A 2007 Guidebook to the Geology of Barringer Meteorite Crater, Arizona; Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, 150p (LPI Contribution No. 1355).

  • Levien L and Prewitt C T 1981 High-pressure crystal structure and compressibility of coesite; Am. Mineral. 66 324–333.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mallet F R 1869 On the Vindhyan series, as exhibited in the north-western and central province of India; Geol. Surv. India Memoir 7(1) 129.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malone S J, Meert J G, Banerjee D M, Pandit M K, Tamrat, E, Kamenov, G D, Pradhan, V R and Sohl L E 2008 Paleomagnetism and detrital zircon geochronology of the Upper Vindhyan sequence, Son vally and Rajasthan, India: A ca. 1000 Ma closure age for the Purana basins; Precamb. Res. 164 137–159.

    Google Scholar 

  • Master S and Pandit M K 1999 New evidence for an impact origin of the Ramgarh structure; Meteor. Planet. Sci. (Suppl.) 34 4.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDonough W F and Sun S S 1995 The composition of the Earth; Chem. Geol. 120 223–253.

    Google Scholar 

  • Melosh H J 2017 Impact geologists, beware!; Geophys. Res. Lett. 44 8873–8874.

    Google Scholar 

  • Misra S, Dube A, Srivastava P K and Newsom H E 2008a Time of formation of Ramgarh crater, India – Constraints from geological structures; 39th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1502.

  • Misra S, Lashkari G, Panda D, Dube A, Sisodia M S, Newsom H E and Sengupta D 2008b Geochemical evidence for the meteorite impact origin of Ramgarh structure, India; 39th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1499.

  • Misra S, Arif Md, Basavaiah N, Srivastava P K and Dube A 2010 Structural and anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) evidence for oblique impact on terrestrial basalt flows: Lonar crater, India; Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 122 563–574.

    Google Scholar 

  • Misra S, Panda D, Ray D, Newsom H, Dube A and Sisodia M S 2013 Geochemistry of glassy rocks from Ramgarh structure, India; 44th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, abstract no. 1020.

  • Misra S, Shrivastava P K and Arif Md 2018 Remote sensing, structural and rock magnetic analyses of the Ramgarh structure of SE Rajasthan, central India – Further clues to its impact origin and time of genesis; In: Tectonics & Structural Geology: Indian Context (Springer).

  • Mittlefehldt D W, McCoy T J, Goodrich C A and Krahcer A 1998 Non-chondritic meteorites from asteroidal bodies; In: Planetary materials (ed.) Papike J J, Rev. Mineral., Mineral. Soc. Am. 36 195.

  • Nayak V K 1972 Glassy objects (impactite glasses?): A possible new evidence for meteoritic origin of the Lonar crater, Maharashtra state, India; Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 14 1–6.

    Google Scholar 

  • Newsom H, Gasnault O, Le Mouelic S, Mangold N, Le Deit L, Wiens R, Anderson R, Edgar L, Herkenhoff K, Johnson J R, Bridges N, Grotzinger J P, Gupta S and Jacob S 2016 Long distance observation with the ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager: Mount Sharp and related deposits on Gale crater floor? Geological Society of America, Denver, Colorado, September 25–28.

  • Oldham T 1856 Remarks on the classification of the rocks of central India resulting from the investigation of the Geological Survey; J. Asiatic Soc., Calcutta, 25 224–256.

  • Osinski G R, Spray J G and Grieve R A F 2008 Impact melting in sedimentary target rocks: An assessment; Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper 437 1–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Osae S, Misra S, Koeberl C, Sengupta D and Ghosh S 2005 Target rocks, impact glasses, and melt rocks from the Lonar impact crater, India: Petrography and Geochemistry; Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 40 1473–1492.

    Google Scholar 

  • Palme H, Janssens M J, Takahashi H, Anders E and Hertogen J 1978 Meteoritic material at five large impact craters; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 42 313–323.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paneth F A 1951 A 17th century report on copper meteorites; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 1 117–118.

    Google Scholar 

  • Prasad B 1984 Geology, sedimentation and palageography of the Vindhyan Supergroup, southeast Rajasthan; Geol. Surv. India Memoir 116 1–107.

    Google Scholar 

  • Raza M, Khan A, Bhardwaj V R and Rais S 2012 Geochemistry of Mesoproterozoic sedimentary rocks of upper Vindhyan Group, southeastern Rajasthan and implications for weathering history, composition and tectonic setting of continental crust in the northern part of Indian shield; J. Asian Earth Sci. 48 160–172.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramasamy S M 1987 Evolution of Ramgarh dome, Rajasthan: India; Rec. Geol. Surv. India 113 13–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ray J S 2006 Age of Vindhyana Supergroup: A review of recent findings; J. Earth Syst. Sci. 115 149–160.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ray D and Misra S 2014 Contrasting aerodynamic morphology and geochemistry from Lonar crater, India: Some insights into their cooling history; Earth Moon Planets 114 59–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ray D, Upadhyay D, Misra S, Newsom H E and Ghosh S 2017 New insights on petrography and geochemistry of impactites from the Lonar crater, India; Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 52 1577–1599.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reimold W U and Koeberl C 2014 Impact structures in Africa: A review; J. African Earth Sci. 93 57–175.

    Google Scholar 

  • Satayanaryanan M, Balaram V, Sawant S S, Subramanyan K S V, Vamsi Krishna G, Dasaram B and Manikyamba C 2018 Rapid determination of REEs, PGEs, and other trace elements in geological and environmental materials by high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; Atomic Spectr. 39(1) 1–15.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schultz P H and Srnka L J 1980 Cometary collision on the Moon and Mercury; Nature 284 22–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shukla A D 2011 Geochemical and isotopic studies of some sedimentary sequences of the Vindhyan super group, India (unpublished PhD thesis). M.S. University, Baroda.

  • Sisodia M S, Lashkari G and Bhandari N 2006 Impact origin of the Ramgarh structure Rajasthan: Some new evidences; J. Geol. Soc. India 67 423–431.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith E I 1971 Determination of origin of small lunar and terrestrial craters by depth diameter ratio; J. Geophys. Res. 76 5683–5689.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sokol E, Sharygin V, Kalugin V, Volkova N and Nigmatulina E 2002 Fyalite and kirschsteinite solid solutions in melts from burned spoil-heaps, south Ural, Ruissa; European J. Mineral. 14 795–807.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tandon S K, Pant C C and Casshyap S M 1991 Sedimentary basins of IndiaTectonic context; Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wasson J T and Kallemeyn G W 2002 The IAB iron-meteorite complex: A group, five subgroups, numerous grouplets, closely related, mainly formed by crystal segregation in rapidly cooling melts; Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 66 2445–2473.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

DR is indebted to Department of Space (Govt. of India) for financial support. SM is grateful to PLANEX-PRL, India and NRF, South Africa (grant no. 91089); and H Newsom to NASA (P. G. and G. grant #NNG 05GJ42G), for financial assistance for this research work. Infrastructural facility for microphotography for this work provided by NCAOR, Goa, India, is thankfully acknowledged. We wish to extend our special thanks to D Panda (PRL, India) for helping in some microprobe analyses and SG Greenwood (UKZN, South Africa) for maintaining computers. The LA-ICP-MS trace element data were generated at the Diamond Jubilee Radiogenic Isotope Facility of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT, Kharagpur. DU acknowledges financial support from IIT, Kharagpur for setting up the laboratory. SM is also grateful to M S Sisodia and G Lashkari, for introducing him in Ramgarh research. Critical review by an anonymous reviewer and editorial handling of N V Chalapathi Rao, Editor-in-Chief, are gratefully acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dwijesh Ray.

Additional information

Communicated by N V Chalapathi Rao

Supplementary materials pertaining to this article are available on the Journal of Earth Science Website (http://www.ias.ac.in/Journals/Journal_of_Earth_System_Science).

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOC 12030 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ray, D., Misra, S., Upadhyay, D. et al. Iron-nickel metallic components bearing silicate-melts and coesite from Ramgarh impact structure, west-central India: Possible identification of the impactor. J Earth Syst Sci 129, 118 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-020-1371-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-020-1371-7

Keywords

  • Asteroid impact crater
  • sedimentary target rock
  • accretionary lapilli
  • metallic iron
  • iron meteorite
  • kirschsteinite