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Further evidence for an impact origin of the Tsenkher structure in the Gobi-Altai, Mongolia: geology of a 3.7 km crater with a well-preserved ejecta blanket

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2017

GORO KOMATSU*
Affiliation:
International Research School of Planetary Sciences, Università d'Annunzio, Viale Pindaro 42, 65127 Pescara, Italy
JENS ORMÖ
Affiliation:
Centro de Astrobiologia, Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial, Ctra de Torrejon a Ajalvir, Km 4, 28850 Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
TOGOOKHUU BAYARAA
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 152, Ulaanbaatar 51, Mongolia
TOMOKO ARAI
Affiliation:
Planetary Exploration Research Centre, Chiba Institute of Technology, 2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narashino-shi, Chiba 275-0016, Japan
KEISUKE NAGAO
Affiliation:
Geochemical Research Centre, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
YOSHIHIRO HIDAKA
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
NAOKI SHIRAI
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
MITSURU EBIHARA
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
CARL ALWMARK
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Division of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
LKHAGVA GERELTSETSEG
Affiliation:
Institute of Paleontology and Geology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Peace Avenue 63, P.O. Box 260, Ulaanbaatar 210351, Mongolia
SHOOVDOR TSERENDUG
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 152, Ulaanbaatar 51, Mongolia
KAZUHISA GOTO
Affiliation:
International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University Aoba 468-1, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-0845Japan
TAKAFUMI MATSUI
Affiliation:
Planetary Exploration Research Centre, Chiba Institute of Technology, 2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narashino-shi, Chiba 275-0016, Japan
SODNOMSAMBUU DEMBEREL
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 152, Ulaanbaatar 51, Mongolia
*
Author for correspondence: goro@irsps.unich.it

Abstract

The Tsenkher structure in the Gobi-Altai, Mongolia is a c. 3.7 km diameter crater with a well-preserved ejecta blanket. It has been hypothesized to be either of impact or volcanic origin in our previous work. Observations during our 2007 expedition and related sample analyses give further support for an impact origin. The evidence includes the presence of a structurally uplifted near-circular rim surrounded by an ejecta blanket, and abundant breccias, some of which are melt- and millimetre-scale spherule-bearing. Planar deformation features (PDFs) were found in one quartz grain in a breccia sample. Fe-rich grains are found in a vesicular melt sample that is also characterized by elevated platinum group element (PGE) abundances with respect to the sedimentary bedrock of the area (approximately an order of magnitude). Noble gas analysis of one breccia sample yielded an elevated 3He/4He value of (5.0±0.2) × 10−6. Although not conclusive alone, these geochemical results are consistent with a contribution of meteoritic components. A volcanic origin, in particular a maar formation, would require explanations for the unusual conditions associated with Tsenkher, including its large size occurring in isolation, the structurally uplifted rim and the lack of a bedded base surge deposit. A pronounced rampart structure observed at the eastern ejecta is also unusual for any volcanic origin. 40Ar–39Ar dating of a vesicular melt sample gives an age of the Tsenkher structure of 4.9±0.9 Ma. The rampart structure could provide insights into the formation of similar ejecta morphologies associated with numerous impact craters on Mars.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Footnotes

present address: Korea Polar Research Institute, 26 Songdomirae-ro, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 21990, South Korea

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Further evidence for an impact origin of the Tsenkher structure in the Gobi-Altai, Mongolia: geology of a 3.7 km crater with a well-preserved ejecta blanket
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