Research Article

Bedout: A Possible End-Permian Impact Crater Offshore of Northwestern Australia

Science  04 Jun 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5676, pp. 1469-1476
DOI: 10.1126/science.1093925

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Abstract

The Bedout High, located on the northwestern continental margin of Australia, has emerged as a prime candidate for an end-Permian impact structure. Seismic imaging, gravity data, and the identification of melt rocks and impact breccias from drill cores located on top of Bedout are consistent with the presence of a buried impact crater. The impact breccias contain nearly pure silica glass (SiO2), fractured and shock-melted plagioclases, and spherulitic glass. The distribution of glass and shocked minerals over hundreds of meters of core material implies that a melt sheet is present. Available gravity and seismic data suggest that the Bedout High represents the central uplift of a crater similar in size to Chicxulub. A plagioclase separate from the Lagrange-1 exploration well has an Ar/Ar age of 250.1 ± 4.5 million years. The location, size, and age of the Bedout crater can account for reported occurrences of impact debris in Permian-Triassic boundary sediments worldwide.

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