Modeling the geochemical evolution of impact melts in terrestrial impact basins: Vredefort granophyre dikes and Sudbury offset dikes

1Matthew S. Huber,1Elizaveta Kovaleva,2Ulrich Riller
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Geology, University of the Free State, 205 Nelson Mandela Dr, Bloemfontein, 9300 South Africa
2Institut für Geologie, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

The Vredefort impact structure, South Africa, is comparable to the Sudbury impact structure, Canada, in size, age, and target rock composition. Both impact structures feature impact melt dikes. The melt sheet of the Sudbury impact (Sudbury Igneous Complex; SIC) is genetically linked to the Sudbury offset dikes in the underlying target rock. At Vredefort, the melt sheet was eroded so that only the granophyre dikes retain compositional melt sheet characteristics. XRF analyses of 43 samples from four granophyre dikes are similar to previous studies, but identify an anomalous mafic phase within one of the dikes. The results from the Vredefort granophyre dikes are compared to the Sudbury offset dikes and shown to follow similar geochemical trends, controlled by crystallization of feldspar and pyroxene. The mafic granophyre phase is compositionally remarkably similar to the offset dike compositions. The program Rhyolite‐MELTS was used to test possible melt sheet compositions. Modeling results are broadly consistent with the overall chemical and mineral composition of the dikes. Modeling is consistent with offset dikes being derived from the basal mafic layer of the SIC, and the granophyre dikes being derived from alkali‐depleted bulk continental crust. For all modeled compositions, crystallization primarily occurred at temperatures between 1150°C and 1000°C. The emplacement of the felsic granophyre dikes from a homogenized crustal melt suggests emplacement within tens of years after the impact event. The presence of the mafic phase in one of the granophyre dikes is explained by its emplacement following some differentiation of the Vredefort melt sheet.


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