Chemie der Erde (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemer.2018.06.001]
1State University of Campinas, Brazil
2University of Brasília, Brazil
3Natural History Museum – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Berlin, Germany
4Federal University of Bahia, Brazil
5University of São Paulo, Brazil
The Earth’s impact record is known to be rather limited in both time and space. There are ca. 190 impact structures currently known on Earth, representing a minor fraction of all the impact events that contributed to the initial formation of our protoplanet, and then to formation and modification of the surface of the planet. Moreover, the distribution of impact structures on Earth is manifestly uneven. One continent that stands out for its relatively small number of confirmed impact structures and impact ejecta occurrences is South America. The limited impact record for this large continent makes a robust case that there is a significant potential for further discoveries. Significant information on the impact record of South America is dispersed in different types of publications (journal articles, books, conferences abstracts, etc.), and in several languages, making it difficult to access and disseminate it among the geoscientific community. We aim to present a summary of the current knowledge of the impact record of this continent, encompassing the existing literature on the subject. It is published in two parts, with the first one covering an up-to-date introduction to impact cratering processes and to the criteria to identify/confirm an impact structure and related deposits. This is followed by a comprehensive analysis of the Brazilian impact structures. The Brazilian impact record accounts for the totality of the large structures of this kind currently confirmed in South America. The second part will examine the impact record of other countries in South America, provide information about a number of proposed impact structures, and review those that already have been discarded as not being formed by impact.