In situ U–Pb analysis of shocked zircon from the Charlevoix impact structure, Québec, Canada

Martin Schmieder, Barry J. Shaulis, Thomas J. Lapen, Elmar Buchner, David A. Kring

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
First Published: 19 June 2019


“Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma‐mass spectrometry (LA‐ICP‐MS) U–Pb geochronology of shocked zircon grains in a vesicular‐fluidal impact melt rock from the ≥54 km Charlevoix impact structure, Québec, Canada, suggests an Ordovician to Silurian age of 450 ± 20 Ma for the impact. This age is anchored by concordant U–Pb results of ~450 Ma for a U‐rich, cryptocrystalline zircon grain in the melt rock, interpreted as a recrystallized metamict zircon crystal; the U–Th–Pb system of the metamict grain was seemingly chronometrically reset by the Charlevoix impact, but withstood later tectonometamorphic events. The new zircon age for Charlevoix is in agreement with a stratigraphically constrained Late Ordovician maximum age of ~453 Ma and corroborates earlier suggestions that the impact occurred most likely in the Ordovician, and not ~100 Myr later, as indicated by previous K/Ar and 40Ar/39Ar geochronologic results. The latter may reflect postimpact thermal overprint of impactites during the Salinian (Late Silurian to Early Devonian) and/or Acadian (Late Devonian) orogenies. U–Pb geochronology of zircon crystals in anorthosite exposed in the central uplift of the impact structure yielded a Grenvillian crystallization age of 1062 ± 11 Ma. The preferred Ordovician age for the Charlevoix impact structure, which is partially overthrusted by the Appalachian front, suggests the impact occurred during a phase of Taconian tectonism and an episode of enhanced asteroid bombardment of the Earth. Our results, moreover, demonstrate that (recrystallized) metamict zircon grains may be of particular interest in impact geochronology.”