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The Ries-Steinheim event – impact into a Miocene swampy lakescape Das Ries-Steinheim-Ereignis – Impakt in eine miozäne Seen- und Sumpfl andschaft

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Palaeoenvironmental considerations suggest that the continental Miocene Ries-Steinheim impact on the Swabian-Franconian Alb plateau, as a rare case on Earth, affected a region dominated by swamplands and lakes. This is supported by the contemporaneous phreatomagmatism of the nearby Urach Volcanic Field, the widespread occurrence of pre- and early post-impact lacustrine and palustrine sediments that overlie deeply karstified, water-saturated Upper Jurassic target limestones, as well as by a subtropical-humid palaeoclimate and a high groundwater level at the time of impact. The characteristics of the Ries ejecta (e.g. accretionary lapilli) display further evidence. Both impact craters became host to crater lakes soon upon impact. A water-saturated, lacustrine-palustrine phreatic impact scenario is also in agreement with the characteristics of proximal Ries and Steinheim impact ejecta, as well as recent numerical modelling results for the Ries impact.

German
Die Paläogeografie und Paläoumweltbedingungen des Ries-Steinheim-Einschlags auf der Schwäbisch-Fränkischen Alb im Miozän legen nahe, dass es sich bei diesem prominenten Impaktereignis in Mitteleuropa um den seltenen Fall eines Meteoriteneinschlags in eine Seen- und Sumpflandschaft gehandelt hat. Dafür sprechen die phreatomagmatische Natur des nur unweit entfernten Urach-Kirchheimer Vulkangebietes und die häufig auftretenden prä- und postriesischen lakustrinen und palustrinen Sedimente im Vorries und der Molasse des Nordalpinen Vorlandbeckens, welche die tiefreichend verkarsteten Kalke der Albtafel überlagern. Das subtropisch-humide Klima in Kombination mit einem relativ hohen Meeresspiegel während des Miozäns unterstützt ein solches Modell. Die Charakteristika der Ries-Auswurfmassen (beispielsweise akkretionäre Lapilli im Ries-Suevit) stellen weitere Hinweise dar. Beide Impaktkrater bildeten nach dem Einschlag rasch Kraterseen aus. Ein Ries-Steinheim-Einschlag in eine lakustrin-palustrin geprägte Landschaft ist mit der Petrogenese der Auswurfmassen und jüngeren numerischen Modellierungen des Ries-Impakts vereinbar, die ebenso für ein wassergesättigtes kontinentales Einschlagsszenario sprechen.
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Keywords: KARSTIFICATION; MOLASSE; RIES CRATER; STEINHEIM BASIN; SUEVITE; SWABIAN ALB; URACH-KIRCHHEIM VOLCANIC FIELD

Language: German

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2013

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  • Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (ZDGG) is an international peer reviewed journal that accepts papers on research and applied topics in the Earth Sciences. It is published online and in print. One volume, consisting of four issues is published annually. The journal is continously published by the German Geological Society since its foundation in 1848. It was relaunched in 2005.

    ZDGG invites the submission of English, German and French language papers from all fields of geology, hydrogeology, paleontology, tectonics, sedimentology, engineering geology and of course environmental geology to name a few. The editors of ZDGG also invite suggestions for thematic issues.
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