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Gravity investigation of the Manson impact structure, IowaThe Manson crater, of probable Cretaceous/Tertiary age, is located in northwestern Iowa (center at 42 deg. 34.44 min N; 94 deg. 33.60 min W). A seismic reflection profile along an east west line across the crater and drill hole data indicate a crater about 35 km in diameter having the classic form for an impact crater, an uplifted central peak composed of uplifted Proterozoic crystalline bedrock, surrounded by a 'moat' filled with impact produced breccia and a ring graben zone composed of tilted fault blocks of the Proterozoic and Paleozoic country rocks. The structure has been significantly eroded. This geologic structure would be expected to produce a significant gravity signature and study of that signature would shed additional light on the details of the crater structure. A gravity study was undertaken to better resolve the crustal structure. The regional Bouguer gravity field is characterized by a southeastward decreasing field. To first order, the Bouguer gravity field can be understood in the context of the geology of the Precambrian basement. The high gravity at the southeast corner is associated with the mid-continent gravity high; the adjacent low to the northwest results from a basin containing low-density clastic sediments shed from the basement high. Modeling of a simple basin and adjacent high predicts much of the observed Bouguer gravity signature. A gravity signature due to structure associated with the Manson impact is not apparent in the Bouguer data. To resolve the gravity signature of the impact, a series of polynomial surfaces were fit to the Bouguer gravity field to isolate the small wavelength residual anomalies. The residual gravity obtained after subtracting a 5th- or 6th-order polynomial seems to remove most of the regional effects and isolate local anomalies. The pattern resolved in the residual gravity is one of a gravity high surrounded by gravity lows and in turn surrounded by isolated gravity highs. The central portion of the crater is characterized by two positive anomalies having amplitudes of about plus 4 mGal separated by a gentle saddle located approximately at the crater center.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Plescia, J. B. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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