Chromium isotope anomaly in an impactite sample from the El'gygytgyn structure, Russia: Evidence for a ureilite projectile?
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2013
© The Meteoritical Society, 2013.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Special Issue: The 2009 ICDP drilling project at the El'gygytgyn impact structure in Arctic Russia.
Volume 48, Issue 7, pages 1339–1350, July 2013
How to Cite
Foriel, J., Moynier, F., Schulz, T. and Koeberl, C. (2013), Chromium isotope anomaly in an impactite sample from the El'gygytgyn structure, Russia: Evidence for a ureilite projectile?. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 48: 1339–1350. doi: 10.1111/maps.12116
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 6 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 2 JUN 2012
- International Continental Scientific Drilling Program
- U.S. National Science Foundation
- German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
- Alfred Wegener Institute
- GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
- Russian Academy of Sciences Far East Branch
- Russian Foundation for Basic Research
- Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research
- Austrian Science Foundation. Grant Number: P21821-N19
The 3.6 Ma, 18-km-diameter El'gygytgyn impact structure (Arctic Russia) is unique among the currently known terrestrial impact craters in that it is the only one that was formed in acid volcanic rocks. Previous analyses of impactites from El'gygytgyn showed minor enrichments of the siderophile elements, including Ir, which, together with distinct Cr enrichments, gave rise to speculation that an achondritic projectile was involved. We studied the major and trace element composition in samples from the new ICDP drill core obtained near the center of the structure, as well as the chromium isotopic composition of an impact glass sample collected on the surface. Several suevitic breccias from the upper part of the suevite sequence in the drill core show higher Cr and Ni contents compared with felsic volcanic rocks in the lower part of the core and from surface samples. However, it is difficult to unambiguously establish a meteoritic component from trace element data, as input from (rare) mafic target rocks is a possibility. In contrast, the Cr isotopic composition of the impact glass sample yielded a nonterrestrial ε54Cr value of −0.72 ± 0.31 (2 std. err.). This negative ε54Cr is different from known carbonaceous chondrite values (ε54Cr of +0.95 to +1.65), but is nearly identical to reported values for ureilites (approximately −0.77). The value is, however, also within analytical error of eucrites (approximately −0.38) and ordinary chondrites (approximately −0.42). Given the chemical signatures found in previous analyses of El'gytgytgyn impactites and the similarity of our Cr isotopic data to ureilites, we suggest that the impacting asteroid could have been an F-type asteroid of mixed composition, similar to the recent Almahata Sitta fall in Sudan.