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The Quarkziz crater is located in western Algeria, close to the
Moroccan border. The crater is 3.5km in diameter, and has a central
uplift structure. The external rim has a height of 100m from top to
bottom, and is made up of strongly dipping sedimentary rocks. Concentric
and radial faults can be seen here, and appear to have caused a small
amount of displacement. Some fracturing of the rocks is also noticeable,
and many of these fractures are filled with breccias. Inside the
external ring is an annular trough that has been filled with alluvium,
as well as fallen material from the rim. The central uplift structure is
made up of several beds plunging towards the center that have been
asymmetrically folded. The rocks here are strongly fractured, and
monogenic breccias are present. These breccias are made up of various
rock fragments cemented by calcite or rock debris.
The target rocks are sedimentary rocks, which can be divided into
the Viseen and Namurien layers. The Visean layers are limestones and
carbonates, alternating with green marls, and some gypsum. The Namurian
layers are sandstones and clays. These units have an approximate age of
Carboniferous. Local sandstone formations that were deposited after the
impact event have been dated as Cretaceous. This loosely constrains the
time of the impact event to between the Carboniferous and Cretaceous,
although more recent estimates place the event in the late Cretaceous.
Quarkziz has limited evidence of an impact origin, in that no impact
glass or meteorite fragments have been found. However, petrographic
studies have identified planar deformation features in quartzites from
the central uplift structure, and from the outer edges of the crater.
While the presence of breccias is an important characteristic of impact
craters, it is not as diagnostic as the planar deformation features
Principal researchers: J.Fabre; N. Kazi-Tani; M. Megartsi
(Text from: Global Impact Studies Project)