Distal Processes and Effects of Multiple Late Triassic Terrestrial Bolide Impacts: Insights from the Norian Manicouagan Event, Northeastern Quebec, Canada

Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 46)


The Late Triassic (Carnian to Rhaetian Stages: ca. 237–201 Ma) has a long history of geological research, although controversy remains over the precise definition of key sub-unit boundaries, including those defining the three constituent stages. Within this context, at least five terrestrial bolide impact structures ranging from 9 to 85 km in diameter have been identified at present-day northern latitudes, the proximal remnant crater aspects of which have been studied in increasing detail over the last few decades. The more elusive distal sedimentary expressions of these multi-sized hypervelocity events remain largely unknown, although if preserved, identified and interpreted correctly, may (as precisely dateable event horizons) help to address certain existing stratigraphic uncertainties, particularly pertaining to the (longest) Norian Stage. Detailed absolute age-dating using a range of radioisotopic methods (e.g. U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar) currently indicates that at least three of the confirmed Late Triassic impact craters formed prior to commencement of the major Rhaetian Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) volcanic episode by several million years. Impact research efforts to date have focused mainly on describing and process modeling the relatively well-preserved largest impact structure, Manicouagan (215.5 Ma; 85 km diameter) located in northeastern Quebec, Canada and, to a lesser extent, the Saint Martin (227.8 Ma; 40 km) and Rochechouart (ca. 207–201 Ma; ca. 23–50 km) structures in central Manitoba, Canada and west-central France respectively. The smaller, subsurface Red Wing structure (ca. 200 Ma; 9 km diameter, ca. 2.5 km burial depth) located in South Dakota, USA, also has attracted significant economic interest. Unlike the well-documented End Cretaceous Chicxulub impact (66 Ma; ca. 180 Km), attempts to establish a globally significant causal extinction connection between the larger impacts (e.g. Manicouagan and Rochechouart) and Late Triassic marine and terrestrial bioevents, culminating with the ‘End Triassic Extinction’ (ETE), have essentially proved unsuccessful.


Bolide Impact structure Microtektite Spherule Ejecta Paleoseismology Paleoearthquake Synsedimentary deformation Microfracture Biotic extinction 



The authors especially wish to thank Martin Schmieder for his comprehensive review of the current manuscript and impactful comments. Rob Weems, Kord Ernstson, Fernando Claudin and Luther Strayer are acknowledged for their technical contributions, knowledge sharing and informative discussions. Thanks are also extended to Grant D. Wach, Yawooz Kettanah, Ricardo L. Silva, Gordon Brown, Ian Spooner, Rob Raeside, Lucy Thompson, Mike Simms among others, and especially to Bill Richards for his assistance in the field and practical research advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum BoardHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesLe Moyne CollegeSyracuseUSA

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