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Wolfe Creek meteorite crater, Carranya Station, Halls Creek Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 19° 10' 21'' South , 127° 47' 27'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -19.17271,127.79107
GeoHash:G#: qudfgvwwg
Locality type:Crater
Köppen climate type:BSh : Hot semi-arid (steppe) climate

The rim diameter is 800 m and the distance from the rim crest to the present crater floor is 60 m. The age is approximately 10,000-20,000 years.
Weathering of Ni-Fe meteorite fragments have formed the new minerals reevesite, cassidyite and pecoraite.

Located 145 kilometres south of Halls Creek on the edge of the Tanami Desert. It is considered the second largest well preserved meteorite impact crater in the world, caused when a 50 000 tonne meteorite crashed into the planet at high speed. The crater is 800 metres across and the references found list it as 300 000 years old (20 000 years written above not referenced). It was discovered by an aerial survey team in 1947.

Alternatively the local Djaru people state the nearby Wolfe and Stuart Creeks were formed by two rainbow serpents, and the crater is where one emerged from the ground. They call the place Kandimalal or Gandimalal.

Wolfe Creek is named after Robert Wolfe in 1889, a prospector and Halls Creek store owner.

The rim is laterite crust with underlying quartzite, however the impact of the meteorite has caused the quartzite to be overturned, and in some places the laterite is sandwiched between folds of quartzite. The floor of the crater is gypsum, porous, and showing sink-holes following two intersecting stress fractures caused by the impact.

The western slopes of the crater contain rusty 'shale-balls', up
to 250 kg, some loose and others fused to the rock. They are highly weathered iron oxide. Purer nickel-iron fragments have been found up to 4 kilometres south-west of the crater. The meteorites are weathered to goethite and nickelian maghemite, with small amounts of jarosite, apatite, lipscombite, and three type locality species- reevesite, cassidyite and pecoraite.

The main reference suggests the shock of the high velocity impact caused the fragments of meteorite to be more susceptable to weathering. Goethite is the main constituent of these meteorites and contains a small amount of nickel and more minor cobalt. Maghemite is mixed with the goethite, and makes the meteorites magnetic. Nickel is found at 8.7% in the maghemite and minor cobalt. Lipscombite is found as dull green crusts lining lath shaped cavities which were original schreibersite crystals. A small amount of schreibersite remains. Unusually this nickel rich species has weathered to an almost nickel free iron phosphate. It was the second known occurence of the species. Reevesite is bright yellow at this locality and forms as fine grained aggregates lining cavities and cracks. Cassidyite forms thin crusts and small sphericules in cavities and cracks, pale to bright green depending on the amount of nickel present. Pecoraite occurs as green very small curved plate particles, with some achieving a spiral, and formed in hydrothermal conditions.

In the fragments the iron has converted to a ferric state of goethite and maghemite, whereas the nickel has oxidised to a bivalent state. Specimens show a crust surface, and under this a system of radial cracks, often with a cavity in the centre sometimes lined with the rare species mentioned above.

Mineral List

13 valid minerals. 3 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

Quaternary - Cenozoic
0 - 66 Ma

ID: 694438
dunes 38496

Age: Cenozoic (0 - 66 Ma)

Description: Dunes, sandplain with dunes and swales; may include numerous interdune claypans; may be locally gypsiferous

Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Regolith

Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). [5]

252.17 - 298.9 Ma

ID: 3186259
Paleozoic sedimentary rocks

Age: Permian (252.17 - 298.9 Ma)

Comments: Canning Basin

Lithology: Shale,sandstone,limestone,siltstone

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


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White, J.S.(Jr), Henderson, E.P., Mason, B. (1967): Secondary Minerals Produced by Weathering of the Wolf Creek Meteorite, American Mineralogist (Jul-Aug 1967):52: ?
(please note reference mis-spells locality and should be Wolfe)
Bevan, A., McNamara, K.(2010): Australian Meteorite Craters, Western Australian Museum (2010)

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