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A possible Holocene meteorite impact in the Saarland region, West Germany

A possible Holocene meteorite impact in the Saarland region, West Germany

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Published by MuellerPrims
The article describes a site of peculiar findings that may give evidence of a young meteorite impact.
The article describes a site of peculiar findings that may give evidence of a young meteorite impact.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: MuellerPrims on Mar 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/30/2011

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Prims: a possible Holocene meteorite impact crater in the Saarlandregion, West Germany
by Werner Müller,
edumueller@t-online.de
Abstract 
. - Finds of various glasses, melt rocks and other peculiar rocks suggest a possibleyoung meteorite impact in the region of the Saarland Prims river. Indications of shock metamorphism and meteoritic matter are subject to detailed analysis.
Introduction
In 2009 during honorary archeological field work, abundant finds of a greenish, bluish andbluish black glass-like material so far unknown in the region under consideration (Fig. 1)attracted some attention. Originally ascribed to Celtic - Roman glassworks, the in partsignificant magnetization of the samples however puzzled with regard to simple glass fromearly history. Nevertheless, researchers from a few universities who were asked about theorigin of the strange material instantly insisted on an anthropogenic formation. Thisestimation initiated more detailed field work in the course of which far more strange materialand peculiarly deformed rocks partly featuring influence of strongly enhanced temperatureswere discovered obviously not compatible with the common and well-known archeologicaland geologic scenario of the region.
Fig. 1. Location map for the supposed impact site (arrow).
 
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When a preliminary investigation of a specimen showed evidence of shock metamorphism,and other samples in a first approach were speaking in favor of meteoritic components, theidea of an impact in young geological times, probably in the Holocene, got contours, all themore many of the peculiar finds showed surprising affinity to meteorite impact features thathave been reported for the Holocene so-called Chiemgau impact event (Rappenglück et al.2004, Ernstson et al. 2010 a, Hiltl et al. 2011, Rappenglück et al. 2011).In recent times, young, Holocene meteorite impacts have controversially been disputed (e.g.,Bobrowski & Rickman 2009, and references therein) with a tendency to underestimate their frequency and resulting threat to mankind. In this debate statistics plays a major role, and it isevident, that newly discovered very young impacts may significantly alter statistics.Here, with regard to this increasing interest in Holocene impacts, the existence of a possiblenew impact site is brought to the knowledge of the scientific community, and a few basic dataare reported.It is intelligible that for the time being the exact location of the proposed impact site is keptunder wraps in order to prevent rock and meteorite hunters from predation. Scientists showingserious interest in the topic under consideration may contact the author by e-mail.
Observations
The host of peculiar finds is done on an area a few hundred meters wide without exhibiting amorphologically clear crater structure. This may be explained by post-impact alluvialoverprint on low ground or by special conditions in the course of the proposed impact event.The peculiar material under consideration may be divided into three groups:-- strongly magnetic metallic chunks reminding of iron shale of heavily weathered ironmeteorites (Fig. 2). A rapid nickel test proved to be positive, and a polished slab gaveevidence of Neumann lines.-- various glasses and glass-like matter: glass in the form of dense bluish, greenish and bluishblack fragments (Fig. 3); brownish impure vesicular glass (Fig. 4) reminding glasses fromother meteorite impacts like, e.g. Chapadmalal (Fig. 4); glass scraps as components inpolymictic breccias (Fig. 5); glass forming the matrix of melt rocks containing various rock fragments (Fig. 6) reminding of impactites like those from the Monturaqui meteorite crater,Chile, (Fig. 6); glass containing organic matter like charcoal and probably splinters of bones(Fig. 7); glass-like carbon (Fig. 8). It should be noted that the term
glass
is used in a broadsense also including recrystallized glass.-- pebbles and cobbles showing mechanical load and high-temperature signature in the formof glass coating and interspersing the in most cases sandstone samples (Figs. 9-11).In the following, images of typical samples from the suspected impact site are shownaccompanied by an in each case short description.
 
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Fig. 2. Strongly magnetic iron-metallic chunks reminding of iron shale. Coin diameter 21 mm.Fig. 3. Dense, slightly magnetic glass fragments with lots of vesicles. Millimeter scale. Thegreenish, bluish and bluish black colors probably originate from iron oxide. A very similar glasshas been reported from the Pleistocene Zhamanshin impact crater in Kazakhstan (Koeberl1988). Koeberl describes the
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