Large Meteorite Impacts III
Late Devonian Alamo Impact, southern Nevada, USA: Evidence of size, marine site, and widespread effects
Published:January 01, 2005
Jared R. Morrow, Charles A. Sandberg, Anita G. Harris, 2005. "Late Devonian Alamo Impact, southern Nevada, USA: Evidence of size, marine site, and widespread effects", Large Meteorite Impacts III, Thomas Kenkmann, Friedrich Hörz, Alex Deutsch
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The early Late Devonian (early Frasnian) Alamo Impact targeted an oceanic, off-platform site in southern Nevada, excavating a crater with a final diameter of 44–65 km. The original crater is now dismembered and buried beneath younger rocks. Consequently, its size and site must be deduced through multiple converging lines of geological and paleontological evidence. Previous and new evidence includes the catastrophically emplaced Alamo Breccia, tsunamites, shock-metamorphosed quartz grains, carbonate accretionary lapilli, an iridium anomaly, sub-Breccia clastic injection, deep-water Breccia channels, and ejecta material. We now demonstrate, on the basis of conodont microfossils in carbonate ejecta clasts within lapillistone blocks and widely distributed shocked-quartz and lithic-clast ejecta within the upper part of the Breccia, that the Alamo Impact excavated down at least into Upper Cambrian strata, at a depth of 1.7 km, and possibly into the underlying Proterozoic–Lower Cambrian Prospect Mountain Quartzite, ∼2.5 km beneath the Late Devonian seafloor. Distal tsunamites and probable ejecta are now documented as far north as Devils Gate, northern Nevada, and as far northeast as the Confusion Range, western Utah. A charcoal-bearing, early Frasnian estuarine deposit in the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming, may provide the first evidence of an Alamo Impact fallout-generated forest fire. Our new data further document the widespread effects and size of the Alamo Impact, and constrain the likely present position of the tectonically transported crater to an area between the Timpahute and Hot Creek Ranges, southern Nevada.