Subsurface structure of the proposed Sirente meteorite crater: insights from ERT synthetic modellingOPEN ACCESS 

P. Torrese

Acta Geodaetica et Geophysica
Published: 12 September 2022


“The Sirente main crater is a ≈ 130 m wide, in plan view droplet-shaped depression with an elevated rim, surrounded by 30 smaller depressions. It was proposed to be of meteorite impact origin. Given the age of formation in the 3rd to 5th centuries A.D., the inferred catastrophic origin was related to the celestial sign (“Chi Rho”) said to have been seen by Emperor Constantine in 312 A.D. and suggested to have changed the course of both Roman and Christian history. However, the meteoritic origin is not yet confirmed. This paper presents new results from synthetic modelling of Electric Resistivity Tomography field data collected at the Sirente main crater which provide further clues around the controversy of its origin. This study arises from the need to validate the observed structural features which include possible upturned strata (i.e., overturning of strata below impact crater rims) and compaction-fissure-like features below and just outside the crater rim, well-developed “breccia lens”, as well as an ejecta layer, and provide key indicators for objective and quantitative interpretation of the measured resistivity pattern. The results from this study are consistent with the hypothesis of a small impact crater in a low-strength target, with a relatively shallow apparent crater and do not support other proposed mechanisms of formation such as karst, mud volcano or merely anthropogenic origin.”