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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' 60'' South , 127° 47' 60'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -19.1833333333, 127.8


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.

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References

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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