The Luna structure, India: A probable impact crater formed by an iron bolide

K.S. Sajinkumar, S. James, G.K. Indu, Saranya R. Chandran, Devika Padmakumar, J. Aswathi, S. Keerthy, M.N. Praveen, N. Sorcar, J.K. Tomson, Anil Chavan, Subhash Bhandari, M. Satyanarayanan, R. Bhushan, A. Dabhi, Y. Anilkumar

Planetary and Space Science
Available online 6 December 2023, 105826


“The Luna structure of India has been rumored to be an impact crater for more than a decade without any convincing evidence. The structure (1.5–1.8 km) is prominently visible in the low-lying Banni Plains of the tectonically active Kutch Basin as a circular morphological feature with a less-prominent rim. Luna area is strewn with melt-like rocks having high specific gravity and displaying wide range of magnetic properties. It contains minerals like wüstite, kirschsteinite, ulvöspinel, hercynite, and fayalite. The whole rock analysis denotes PGE enrichment, with notably higher average concentrations of Ru (19.02 ppb), Rh (5.68 ppb), Pd (8.64 ppb), Os (6.03 ppb), Ir (10.63 ppb) and Pt (18.31 ppb). The target is not exposed at Luna, owing to the overlying thick sequence of Quaternary sediments. The mineralogical and geochemical signatures points to an impact into a target, which is rich in clay with elevated calcium and silica (sand/silt) content. Geochemical data suggests an iron or stony-iron meteorite as the potential projectile at Luna. The silt layer containing plant remnants, underlying the strewn layer, yielded a radiocarbon age of 6905 years, making Luna the biggest crater to result from an iron bolide within the last 10,000 years.”