The Ries impact and its distal effects in sediments of Central Europe—A review

1,2Jan-Michael Lange, 1Peter Suhr
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Open Access Link to Article []
1Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Dresden, Germany
2Institut für Mineralogie, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg, Germany
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

The Ries impact is the most important cosmic event in the younger geological history of Europe. Its effects reach far beyond the area considered so far and are documented in manifold evidence. In this paper, the widely scattered reports in the literature are compiled and supported with investigations by the authors. Besides well-known ejecta features like the Brockhorizont, Reuter’s blocks, and moldavites, little known or forgotten indications, like a lechatelierite and β-cristobalite occurrence in Bavaria and unusual sedimentation phenomena in northern Germany, are presented. The paleogeographic reconstruction shows that the Ries impact occurred on the southern side of the Neogene Central European mainland. Large parts of this erosional area were devastated by the impact. Pressure waves and thermal radiation had a lasting effect on the landscape within hundreds of kilometers around the impact site. Destruction of the vegetation cover by impact-induced storms, wildfires, and heavy rainfall generated intense erosion. The adjacent sedimentation area to the north (Paleo-North Sea) experienced an increased and short-term supply of terrestrial debris to the marine environment. The stratigraphic coincidence of these exceptional sediments with the Ries event leads us to conclude that the distal effects of the impact are present here, which have so far received little or no attention in this context. The paper considers the different indications and sets them in a large-scale context.


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