Abstract

A set of 34 laser total-fusion 40Ar/39Ar analyses of sanidine from a melt layer in crater-fill deposits of the Manson impact structure in Iowa has a weighted-mean age of 74.1 ± 0.1 Ma. This age is about 9.0 m.y. older than 40Ar/39Ar ages of shocked microcline from the Manson impact structure reported previously by others. The 74.1 Ma age of the sanidine, which is a melt product of Precambrian microcline clasts, indicates that the Manson impact structure played no part in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction at 64.5 Ma. Moreover, incremental-heating 40Ar/39Ar ages of the sanidine show that it is essentially free of excess 40Ar and has not been influenced by postcrystallization heating or alteration. An age spectrum of the matrix of the melt layer shows effects of 39Ar recoil, including older ages in the low-temperature increments and younger ages in the high-temperature increments. At 17 places in eastern South Dakota and Nebraska, shocked quartz and feldspar grains are concentrated in the lower part of the Crow Creek Member of the Pierre Shale (Upper Cretaceous). The grains are largest (3.2 mm) in southeastern South Dakota and decrease in size (0.45 mm) to the northwest, consistent with the idea that the Manson impact structure was their source. The ubiquitous presence of shocked grains concentrated in a thin calcarenite at the base of the Crow Creek Member suggests it is an event bed recording an instant of geologic time. Ammonites below and above the Crow Creek Member limit its age to the zone of Didymoceras nebrascense of earliest late Campanian age. Plagioclase from a bentonite bed in this zone in Colorado has a 40Ar/39Ar age of 74.1 ± 0.1 Ma commensurate with our sanidine age of 74.1 Ma for the Manson impact structure. 40Ar/39Ar ages of bentonite beds below and above the Crow Creek are consistent with our 74.1 ± 0.1 Ma age for the Manson impact structure and limit its age to the interval ±74.5 0.1 to 73.8 ± 0.1 Ma. Recently, two origins for the Crow Creek have been proposed—eastward transgression of the Late Cretaceous sea and a Manson impact-triggered tsunami. We conclude that most data are in accord with an impact origin for the Crow Creek Member and are at odds with the marine transgression hypothesis.

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