You are on page 1of 50

3/31/2015

Thoughts on the
Beaverhead Impact Crater
Morphology:

Based on information gleaned from


studying oil and gas exploration well logs
and reports in Idaho, Oregon and
Washington, outcrops in Montana and
Idaho, and remote sensing using Google
earth and USGS Geologic Units in the
following States: Idaho, Oregon,
Montana and Washington
Tim McElvain
Beaverhead Impact Crater Rim: based on outcrop and well data and my
interpretation of the surface exposure
of the Idaho Batholith
Legend
Ki; Ki?; Kif; Kii; mig; Y?s: Intrusive rocks: mostly Late Cretaceous granodioritic to granitic plutons of the Idaho
batholitic assemblage, but including some Eocene intrusions; northern Idaho and Atlanta batholith (Cretaceous
to Eocene) [ Mesozoic Cenozoic ] Cretaceous-Late Tertiary)

Truncated top of Central Uplift

Crater Rim


© 2015 Google
Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO
N
Image Landsat 200 mi
Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO
Image Landsat
Beaverhead Impact Crater Rim:
based on outcrop and well data
and geological quadrangle
maps, My interpretation of the
surface exposure of the Idaho
Batholith

Beaverhead Impact Crater Outlined on a Google


Earth Map Print exhibiting the following
formations: Ki; Ki?; Kif; Kii; mig; Y?s:
Intrusive rocks: mostly Late Cretaceous
granodioritic to granitic plutons of the Idaho
batholitic assemblage, but including some
Eocene intrusions; northern Idaho and Atlanta
batholith (Cretaceous
to Eocene) [ Mesozoic Cenozoic ] Cretaceous-
Late Tertiary)
I have outlined my interpretation of the
Beaverhead Impact Crater based on my study of
oil and gas drilling logs and reports in Idaho,
Oregon and Washington, along with the outcrop
at the eastern edge of the crater, and remote
sensing. The large circle represents the edge of
the crater and the small circle in the center
represents the outcrop of the truncated central
uplift. I believe the Idaho Batholith represents
the basement rock brought to the surface by the
rise of the central uplift, which was sheared off
by large thrust sheets.
With respect to thrusting, over thrusting,
overthrust sheets: in the Cascadia subduction
zone thrust sheets have piled up mountain
ranges in the northern Rocky Mountains from
Wyoming to British Columbia. These mountain
ranges are structurally very complex but fairly
well understood as a result of oil and gas
exploration wells throughout the zone. It could
it be possible that some of the big overthrust
sheets traveling north and northeast sheared off
the top of the central uplift and pushed it
northward into the crater and over the crater rim
to the north and east. The remnants of the uplift,
represented by the Idaho Batholith outcrops,
were then dropped from the thrust sheet to the
north and northwest of the crater. If this is true
than I would not expect these allochthonous
blocks of granite to be rooted. It seems to me
that the large thrust sheets could be compared to
the bulldozing effect of advances and retreats of
continental glaciation and the mountain ranges
could be compared to terminal moraines.
One might then wonder if the Neoproterozoic
Conglomerate and Breccia in the Formation of
Leaton Gulch, Grouse Peak, and northern Lost
River Range, Idaho has any relation to the
Beaverhead Impact Structure. These rocks may
be allochthonous blocks that have traveled a
great distance and might be related to a
Neoproterozoic Impact Structure that happened
at another time and another place.
The idea that the central uplift has been sheared
off is a radical idea but I suggest the following
to test it:

Generally speaking the Supergroup and younger


formations within the thrust sheets generated by
the Cascadia Subduction Zone are not
metamorphosed or if so they are
metamorphosed at a very low level. The Belt
Supergroup and younger formations in the
Allochtons south and west of the Central Uplift
are marginally metamorphosed if at all. These
formations exposed on and around the central
uplift vary in metamorphism some are highly
metamorphosed but most are marginally if at all.
The most of the formations in the Thrust Klippe
to the north of the Central Up lift are highly
metamorphosed. There is a question if this
metamorphism is regional or shock
metamorphism. However; as one moves north
the percentage of highly metamorphosed rock
diminishes until one reaches the Coeur D’Alene
Quadrangle there are only isolated patches of
highly metamorphosed rock.
(See: Geologic Map of the Central and Lower
Big Creek Drainage, Central Idaho; Preliminary
geologic map of the Elk City region, Idaho
County, Idaho; Geologic Map of the Idaho Parts
of the Orofino and Clarkston 30 x 60 Minute
Quadrangles, Idaho; Geologic Map of the
Kooskia 30 x 60 Minute Quadrangle, Idaho;
Geologic map compilation of the Hamilton 30 x
60 minute quadrangle, Idaho; Geologic Map of
the Potlatch 30 x 60 Minute Quadrangle, Idaho;
Geologic Map of the Headquarters 30 x 60
Minute Quadrangle, Idaho; Geologic map
compilation of the Missoula West 30 x 60
minute quadrangle, Idaho; Geologic map of the
St. Maries 30 x 60 minute quadrangle, Idaho;
Geologic map of the Coeur d'Alene 30 x 60
minute quadrangle, Idaho)
To my knowledge the thrust sheets generated
by the Cascadia Subduction Zone throughout
the Northern Rocky Mountains did not generate
enough heat and pressure to cause regional
metamorphism. The most highly
metamorphosed rock in this entire zone is
immediately north of the proposed central uplift
of the Beaverhead Impact Crater. The heat and
pressure generated by the Beaverhead bolide
impact would have created enough heat and
pressure to metamorphose rocks over a rather
large area; however, the metamorphism would
probably be more akin to shock metamorphism
than to regional metamorphism. I believe that
it would be interesting to study these rocks and
try to determine if the Belt Supergroup and
younger formations in this area were shock or
regionally metamorphosed
Topographic Map of the Beaverhead Impact Crater:
small circle Outcrop of the top of the truncated Central Uplift,
and two cross sections from well logs, and one modified from
Arney et. al 1984

A’

C’

B
B’
Meyers Fed No 1

Hagenbarth No 22-25
Milford Federal 19-1

Cook No 26-1
Idaho State No 1

A’ A

Beaverhead and Tendoy mountains a


stack of multiple thrust sheets composed
of rocks ranging in age from Precambrian Triassic
through Cretaceous pushed into crater

Pp

Crater fill - Volcanics and sediment ?


?
Kbl
Sea Level Precambrian

Tkb ? ?
-500 meters
?
?
-1000 meters
? Tuff
Tkb Formation thinning as the crater floor rises to the central uplift
-1500 meters Pp

Kjke Cretaceous

Jm

-2500 meters
? Pp

-3000 meters

Precambrian
-3500 meters

Possible crater floor if Milford TD is in Volcanics


Possible Crater floor if Milford TD 1s in Precambrian

After studying logs and reports of other wells drilled within what I believe is morphological Beaverhead Crater;
I am very suspicious that the Milford well landed in at or near the Precambrian or crater floor . I believe the operator
stopped drilling thinking they were close to drilling into the Precambrian and that they would not encounter any
Cretaceous or older shelf formations if they drilled deeper.

I feel justified placing the Beaverhead and Tendoy Mountains on top of the Beaverhead conglomerate in the
cross section after visiting the outcrop and seeing Tendoy mountains on top of the Beaverhead formation in
Big Sheep Canyon.
Cross Section B - B: 1950-01: Juniper No. 1 well
to the Blue Mountain No, 1 well

B’

Sea Level

B’ Precambrian ? ? The edge of the crater should


B
be somewhere in this area.

- 5000 ft
Precambrian ? (see below) TD in Mm

? ?
-10,000 ft

? ?
?
The 1950-01 : Juniper No. 1 Well Logs indicate that the only forma ons the well penetrated were Paleozoic limestone;
however I believe the limestone penetrated by this well is a part of a thrust sheet and therefor does not necessarily indicate
that the well is located outside the crater rim.
Bos c 1-A well - The operator and well site geologist believed the well bo omed in granite-wash or Precambrian, but there is
another interpreta on please see the report below which can be found in the Bos c Well folder file PDF Name -1972-03-reports.pdf.
The authors believe that the silicic rocks at the bo om of the well are not just above the Idaho Batholith or other Precambrian igneous
rocks. They think the Precambrian is much deeper. This is a good report with a schema c a cross sec on from the Bos c well north
(toward the central upli ?) that fits my Interpreta on of the crater morphology.
The Standard of California - Blue Mountain Unit No 1, on the western end of the cross sec on bo omed in black diorite. In the well notes
and reports this forma on is some mes referred to as volcanic and other mes as Precambrian. I do not believe that any of the wells drilled
in this quadrant of the Beaverhead Impact Structure penetrated the Precambrian or any forma on older than the Ter ary.
Cross Section C - C’from Bostic 1 A Well north to Mount Bennett Hills modified after Arney et.al. 1984

C’

-5
Cross Section D – D’

Please See the cross section published in the


USGS Phillipsberg Geological Map A - A’.

This cross section illustrates the Formations


lumped together in the Google Earth Map
under Idaho Batholith as a combination of
formations including Neo-Proterozoic and
Cretaceous Granite. The Formations are all
stirred up as one would expect would happen
when a Cascadia Thrust Sheet bulldozed and
sheared off the top of the Beaverhead Impact
Crater’s central uplift.