Through the impact glass: Insight into the evolution of melt at the Mistastin Lake impact structure

1,2Patrick J. A. Hill,1,3Gordon R. Osinski,1,3Neil R. Banerjee
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7 Canada
2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, 1‐26 Earth Sciences Building, Alberta, T6G 2E3 Canada
3Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7 Canada
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

By analyzing impact glass, the evolution of the impact melt at the Mistastin Lake impact structure was investigated. Impact glass clasts are present in a range of impactites, including polymict breccias and clast‐rich impact melt rock, and from a variety of settings within the crater. From the glass clasts analyzed, three petrographic subtypes of impact glass were identified based on their clast content, prevalence of schlieren, color, texture, and habit. Several alteration phases were also observed replacing glass and infilling vesicles; however, textural observations and quantified compositional data allowed for the identification of pristine impact glass. Although the various types of glasses show significant overlap in their major oxide composition, several subtle variations in the major oxide chemistry of the glass were observed. To investigate this variation, a least‐squares mixing model was implemented utilizing the composition of the glass and the known target rock chemistry to model the initial melt composition. Additionally, image analysis of the glass clasts was used to investigate whether the compositional variations correlated to textural difference in the lithologies. We propose that the textural and compositional dichotomy observed is a product of the evolution, assimilation, and emplacement of the glass. The dichotomy is reflective of the melt either being ballistically emplaced (group 2 glasses: occurring in melt‐poor polymict breccias at lowermost stratigraphic position outside the transient crater) or the result of late‐stage melt flows (group 1 glasses, occurring in melt‐bearing polymict breccias and impact melt rocks at higher stratigraphic positions outside the transient crater).


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