Characterization and morphological reconstruction of the Terny impact structure, central Ukraine


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The Terny impact structure, located in central Ukraine, displays a variety of diagnostic indicators of shock metamorphism, including shatter cones, planar deformation features in quartz, diaplectic glass, selective melting of minerals, and whole rock melting. The structure has been modified by erosion and subsequently buried by recent sediments. Although there are no natural outcrops of the deformed basement rocks within the area, mining exploration has provided surface and subsurface access to the structure, exposing impact melt rocks, shocked parautochthonous target rocks, and allochthonous impact breccias, including impact melt-bearing breccias similar to suevites observed at the Ries structure. We have collected and studied samples from surface and subsurface exposures to a depth of approximately 750 m below the surface. This analysis indicates the Terny crater is centered on geographic coordinates 48.13° N, 33.52° E. The center location and the distribution of shock pressures constrain the transient crater diameter to be no less than approximately 8.4 km. Using widely accepted morphometric scaling relations, we estimate the pre-erosional rim diameter of Terny crater to be approximately 16–19 km, making it close in original size to the well-preserved El'gygytgyn crater in Siberia. Comparison with El'gygytgyn yields useful insights into the original morphology of the Terny crater and indicates that the amount of erosion Terny experienced prior to burial probably does not exceed 320 m.