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Matt Wilson structure: record of an impact event of possible Early Mesoproterozoic age, Northern Territory

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 17:43 authored by Sweet, IP, Haines, P, Mitchell, K
The Matt Wilson structure is a circular 5.5 km-diameter structure in Early Mesoproterozoic or Neoproterozoic rocks of the Victoria Basin, Northern Territory, It lies in regionally horizontal to gently dipping Wondoan Hill and Stubb Formations (Tijunna Group) and Jasper Gorge Sandstone (Auvergne Group). An outer circumferential syncline with dips of 5-40° in the limbs surrounds an intermediate zone with faulted sandstone displaying horizontal to low dips, and a central steeply dipping zone about 1.5 km across. Several thrust faults in the outer syncline appear to indicate outward-directed forces. The central zone, marked by steeply dipping to overturned Tijunna Group and possibly Bullita Group sandstone and mudstone, indicates uplift of at least 300 m. The rocks are intensely fractured with some brecciation, and contain numerous planar to subtly undulating surfaces displaying striae which resemble shatter cleavage. Thin-sections of sandstone from the central area show zones of intense microbrecciation and irregular and planar fractures in quartz, but no melt-rocks have been identified. The planar fractures occur in multiple intersecting parallel sets typical of relatively low-level (5-10 GPa) shock-pressure effects. Alternative mechanisms, i.e. igneous intrusion, carbonate collapse, diapirism and regional deformation processes, have been discounted. The circular nature, central uplift, faulting, shatter features and planar fractures are all consistent with an impact origin. The Matt Wilson structure is most likely a deeply eroded impact structure in which the more highly shocked rocks of the original crater floor have been removed by erosion. Estimates of the age of the Auvergne and Tijunna Groups range from Early Mesoproterozoic (which we favour) to Late Neoproterozoic. Early Cambrian Antrim Plateau Volcanics near the impact structure show no signs of impact effects, allowing the age of impact to be constrained between Early Mesoproterozoic and Early Cambrian. The presence of widespread soft-sediment deformation features, apparently confined to a single horizon in the Saddle Creek Formation some 700-1000 m stratigraphically higher in the Auvergne Group than the rocks at the impact site, and apparently increasing in thickness towards the Matt Wilson structure, lead us to speculate that this probable event horizon is related to the impact event: if correct the impact occurred during deposition of the Saddle Creek Formation. © Geological Society of Australia.


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Australian Journal of Earth Sciences










School of Natural Sciences


Taylor and Francis

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