The “suevite” conundrum, Part 1: The Ries suevite and Sudbury Onaping Formation compared.

Osinski, G. R., Grieve, R. A. F., Chanou, A. and Sapers, H. M.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12728


“The term “suevite” has been applied to various impact melt-bearing breccias found in different stratigraphic settings within terrestrial impact craters. Suevite was coined initially for impact glass-bearing breccias from the Ries impact structure, Germany, which is the type locality. Various working hypotheses have been proposed to account for the formation of the Ries suevite deposits over the past several decades, with the most recent being molten-fuel-coolant interaction (MFCI) between an impact melt pool and water. This mechanism is also the working hypothesis for the origin of the bulk of the Onaping Formation at the Sudbury impact structure, Canada. In this study, the key characteristics of the Ries suevite, the Onaping Formation and MFCI deposits from phreatomagmatic volcanic eruptions are compared. The conclusion is that there are clear and significant lithological, stratigraphic, and petrographic observational differences between the Onaping Formation and the Ries suevite. The Onaping Formation, however, shares many key similarities with MFCI deposits, including the presence of layering, their well-sorted and fine-grained nature, and the predominance of vitric particles with similar shapes and lacking included mineral and lithic clasts. These differences argue against the viability of MFCI as a working hypothesis for genesis of the Ries suevite and for a required alternative mechanism for its formation.”