ERNSTSON CLAUDIN IMPACT STRUCTURES –
Research on impact geology, geophysics, petrology, and
“Earth’s Impact Events Through Geo-
logic Times”: Comment on Schmieder
& Kring article in Astrobiology
Comment on: ” Schmieder, M. and Kring, D. A. (2020) Earth’s
Impact Events Through Geologic Time: A List of Recommended
Ages for Terrestrial Impact Structures and Deposits. –
Astrobiology, 20, 91-141.”
by Kord Ernstson & Ferran Claudin (Jan. 2021)
Abstract: We use Schmieder and Kring’s article to show how science still works within
the so-called “impact community” and how scientic data are manipulated and
“rubber-stamped” by reviewers (here, e.g., C. Koeberl and G. Osinski). We accuse the
authors of continuing to list the Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida impact structures
and one of the world’s most prominent ejecta occurrences of the Pelarda Fm. in Spain
as non-existent in the compilation. The same applies to the spectacular Chiemgau
impact in Germany, which has been proven by all impact criteria for several years. For
the authors’ dating list, we propose that the multiple impact of Azuara is included
together with the crater chain of the Rubielos de la Cérida impact basin as a dated
candidate for the third, so far undated impact markers in the Massignano outcrop in
1 University of Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg (Germany); email@example.com. 2
Associate Geological Museum Barcelona (Spain); firstname.lastname@example.org
In their article the authors use the habitual attitude in the “impact community(e.g.
French and Koeberl 2010, Reimold et al. 2014) to treat the Spanish impacts of the
Azuara event with the formation of the ca. 40 km-diameter Azuara crater and the ca.
80 km x 40 km-diameter Rubielos de la Cérida impact basin with the lined up chain of
craters as non-existent, pointing out that they are not listed in the Canadian impact
database as proven, although the huge and easily accessible impact ndings for both
structures (apart from the manifold geologic and geophysical evidence like ubiquitous
monomictic and polymictic breccias, large systems of monomictic and polymictic
breccia dikes, enormous and extended megabreccias, shatter cones, extended impact
ejecta, gravity and geomagnetic anomalies, the unambiguously established shock
metamorphism like shock melt, planar deformation features (PDFs, Therriault 2000)
and diaplectic glass in various minerals) exceed in quantity, signicance and
importance for the international research the impact evidence for more than an
estimated 90% of all structures listed as proven in the Canadian database.
We have repeatedly pointed out this untenable state of aairs in recent years, after the
database was continued under John Spray at the University of New Brunswick in 2001
and Azuara was kicked out of the database and references to the Spanish proven
impacts were dismissed with incredible, one must say impudence (John Spray: ” You
can send me publication oprints on the Spanish structures, but I won’t look at
them”). Why this is so and has developed, insiders know, and that this has nothing to
do with science but with purely personal campaigns of some leading people from the
so-called “impact community”, we have made clear several times on these our web
pages, which can be read with appropriate search words.
And exactly here the article of Schmieder and Kring is to be classied, which refers to
“proven impacts (of the Canadian data base)” and sees a ne opportunity to ignore
once more the Spanish impacts and also the Chiemgau impact, whereby here the
attribute “proven” does not possess a jot of scientic signicance and raises the
actually superuous question WHO has PROVEN the impact nature. The database? Can
a data base provide a scientic proof? John Spray? Can John Spray provide evidence
for the 200 or so structures listed? Can the “impact community” provide the
evidence? Who or what is the “impact community”? That actually forces long ago that
all publications, which refer to impacts “proved” by the Canadian data base, describe
that rst scientically justied and correctly.
In the following text we omit the extensive citations to the Spanish impact structures
and to the Chiemgau impact, in order not to interrupt permanently and to allow a
more uent reading. Following the text, the relevant literature citations to both
complexes are then compiled with many links.
2 Dating the Azuara – Rubielos de la Cérida impact event: Upper
Eocene to Oligocene
A stratigraphically plausible age for the Spanish giant impact was already given 20
years ago, and for the sake of simplicity we quote the corresponding paragraph from
the comprehensive article (which can be clicked here):
The mid-Tertiary Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida paired impact structures
(Spain) by Kord ERNSTSON, Fernando CLAUDIN, Ulrich SCHÜSSLER and Klaudia
THE AGE OF THE IMPACT EVENT
No radiometric absolute age is so far available for the Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida
impacts. The advanced corrosion of the glass from the impact melt rocks is expected to
prevent any reliable dating.
A stratigraphic age may be addressed considering the youngest sediments aected by the
impact, and the oldest undisturbed post-impact layers. A rough estimate is given by the
stratigraphic position of the Pelarda Fm. ejecta at the boundary between the Lower Tertiary
and the Upper Tertiary (Carls and Monninger, 1974; also see Fig. 3). According to this old
and simple stratigraphic subdivision, the Lower Tertiary experienced the complete Alpidic
tectonic movements, and the Upper Tertiary is the post-tectonic time, when the basins and
valley systems formed with their sedimentary lling. Evidently, a comparable subdivision
may apply to an impact event in this region.
Although the palaeontologic dating of Tertiary units in the Iberian chain has made
progress, the stratigraphic dating still oers many problems. Explicitly, Perez et al., 1985)
state that the outcrops in the zone are limited and that the rapid changes of the facies
prevent the use of lithological guide beds for correlation purposes. Accordingly, the exact
stratigraphic age of the impact will remain unresolved for the present.
From the sediments (units 55 – 57, in ITGE ) exposed near Fonfría and Allueva and
underlying the Pelarda Fm. ejecta, a lower limit is Upper Eocene or earliest Oligocene (unit
57). An upper limit is given by palaeontologic data. Foraminifera and ostracods in post-
impact, Upper Tertiary gastropod marls, about 3 km north of Moneva in the Azuara
structure, point to a Lower Miocene age (Doebl, in Gross, 1974). A dating of the gastropods
themselves (Geyer, in Gwosdek, 1988) provides an Upper Rupelian or Chattian (Oligocene)
age with a high degree of probability. A position at the base of the Aquitanian, however,
cannot be excluded. A further upper-limit dating is given by gastropods (Potaminidae) in
Upper Tertiary sandy limestones near Ventas de Muniesa in the Azuara structure. These
gastropods lived between the Upper Eocene and the earliest Miocene (Geyer, in Mayer,
1990), which does not correspond with the Middle Miocene age for the respective unit
“Areniscas en bancos, conglomerados no cementados y arcillas” in IGME (1981). The
Middle Miocene age is not palaeontologically proven. Similar problems with Miocene ages
are found also in the Rubielos de la Cérida structure. Unit 64 “Arcillas rojas, arenas y
conglomerados” exposed south of Navarrete, is dated (ITGE, 1991) to be late Lower Miocene
or Middle Miocene. Within this unit however, we observe strong structural deformations
with a pronounced horizontal component (large fault planes with prominent slickensides,
excluding atectonic collapse structures by karstication). This implies either remarkable
tectonics in the post-tectonic Upper Tertiary, a wrong stratigraphic classication, or an
origin from the impact cratering process, which, on the other hand, is questioned by Cortes
et al. (2002), Aurell et al. (1993), Aurell (1994), and others.
Disregarding these incompatibilities, we conclude from the lower and upper time limits
given above, that the impact event very probably occurred in the Upper Eocene or
This age is interesting in that it would have made a good addition to Schmieder and
Kring’s list, as it could provide a possible answer to previously unanswered questions.
One of the most remarkable outcrops for dating large impacts via horizons of distal
impact ejecta is the outcrop of Massignano in Italy, where the Eocene – Oligocene
transition is accompanied by several impact marker horizons close to each other,
about which much has already been published (e.g. Koeberl 2009, and references
therein). While the two major impact structures of Popigai (Russia) and Chesapeake
(USA) can be assigned as probable distal ejecta suppliers to specic horizons, such
relationships are lacking for other marker horizons. Linked to these ndings, the
question has also repeatedly arisen whether an accumulation of impact events with
global distribution has occurred at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (Eocene cluster)
(e.g. Koeberl 2008, and references therein). Here, we argue that the two major
candidates of Chesapeake and Popigai have distal ejecta suppliers with diameters of
about 80 km and 100 km, respectively, with which the Spanish Azuara and Rubielos de
La Cérida Impact event is at least on the same order of magnitude. Considering the
proximity of northern Spain to Massignano in comparison to Popigai and Chesapeake,
a new thinking about the impact markers there and an end-Eocene impact cluster
would have a good and important place in impact research, but for this the Canadian
database with John Spray and others from the “impact community” would also have
to think about whether their permanent opposition and ignoring of one of the most
important terrestrial impact structures does not permanently cause immense damage
3 The dating of the Chiemgau impact (southeast Germany)
The perhaps worldwide most spectacular of the recently (since approx. 10 – 15 years)
proven impacts with the large crater strewn eld in southeast Germany – the
Chiemgau impact – is missing (shall one say naturally?) also in the list of Schmieder
and Kring with the reference to the Canadian database, where the impact – of course
– is also not listed. Peer-reviewed publications and a bunch of papers at international
conferences with all the evidence for an impact genesis (geology, geophysics,
mineralogy-petrography, geomorphology, geochemistry, strong shock eects like
PDF, diaplectic glasses, ballen structures in quartz, shatter cones, newly discovered
nearly pure carbon impactites with diamonds and carbines (formation conditions
2,500 – 4,000 K, some GPa), a new class of iron silicide meteorites with excavated
objects weighing up to 8 kg, and more. The craters determined with the digital terrain
model add up meanwhile to roughly 200 in the 60 km x 30 km large strewn eld with
the largest crater Eglsee, which exceeds even with 1.3 km the Barringer crater.
Published is furthermore about an enormous tsunami, which was triggered by the
impact of a double projectile into Lake Chiemsee, about widespread microtektites, and
much more. And all this is treated by the “impact community” by ignoring and silence
as non-existent, instead of making sure that this spectacular event is spread in the
“impact community”. Here again also the list of Schmieder and Kring is addressed, in
which the Chiemgau would have belonged compellingly, particularly since its age
could be dated by newest investigations and a world-wide unique archaeological
impact nding rather well on 900 – 600 B.C., which was published several times.
We do not know to what extent the authors had a free hand in compiling the “proven”
impact structures according to the Canadian database and what inuence e.g. the
reviewers Koeberl, Osinski and an anonymous reviewer had to prevent e.g. the
inclusion of the Spanish impact structures and the Chiemgau impact according to
“proven manner”. However, the publication in Astrobiology shows once more that
even after 20 years it is still possible to block scientically secured and exciting, partly
spectacular ndings in impact research with a most unpleasant inuence on younger
generations of researchers who are deprived of basic knowledge. We recall in this
context episodes from the time when the impact structures of Azuara and Rubielos de
la Cérida caused quite a stir in Spanish geology. When students of geology at the
University of Madrid asked if they could do their exams with mapping (PhD, diploma)
in the newly discovered impact structures (from Internet they were best informed),
they were told bluntly that they should denitely keep their hands o of the impact
matter if they ever wanted to make a career in geology. Is this what leading members
of the “impact community” are also striving to do – keep students and young
researchers away from advances in science?
The Digital Terrain Model (DGM 1) for the 1.3 km-diameter Eglsee impact crater from the
Chiemgau meteorite impact strewn eld (Germany) and the 1.2 km-diameter Barringer
French, B.M. & Koeberl, C.: The convincing identication of terrestrial meteorite
impact structures: What works, what doesn’t, and why. – Earth-Science Reviews, 98,
Koeberl, C. (2009) Late Eocene impact craters and impactoclastic layers – An
overview. – In: The Late Eocene Earth (C. Koeberl and A. Montanari, eds.), GSA Special
Paper 452, 17-26.
Reimold, W.U., Ferrière, L., Deutsch, A., and Koeberl, C. (2014): Impact controversies:
Impact recognition criteria and related issues. – Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 49,
Schmieder, M. and Kring, D. A. (2020) Earth’s Impact Events Through Geologic Time:
Martin A List of Recommended Ages for Terrestrial Impact Structures and Deposits. –
Astrobiology, 20, 91-141
Therriault, A. (2000): Report on Azuara, Spain, PDFs, 31 p.
References Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida impacts
Ernstson, K. and Claudin, F. (2020) When modeling ignores observations: The Jiloca
graben (NE Spain) and the Rubielos de la Cérida impact basin.
Ernstson, K. and Claudin, F. (2020) Daroca thrust (Iberian Chain, Spain) and the
Azuara impact structure -the controversy continues.
Claudin, F. and Ernstson, K. (2019) New approach to an old debate: The Pelarda
Formation meteorite impact ejecta (Azuara structure, Iberian Chain, NE Spain).
Ernstson, K. (2016) The suevite layer outcrop near Fuentes Calientes, Rubielos de la
Cérida impact basin (Spain).
Ernstson, K. and Claudin, F. (2013) Manipulation in science: Comment on “The
convincing identication of terrestrial meteorite impact structures: What works, what
doesn’t, and why”
Ernstson, K. (2013) The Weaubleau impact structure “round rocks” (“Missouri rock
balls”, “Weaubleau eggs”): possible analogues in the Spanish Azuara/Rubielos de la
Cérida impact structures.
Claudin, F., Gorgas, D., and Ernstson, K. (2013) Impact deposit at the Moneva
reservoir, Azuara impact structure (Spain)
Ernstson, K. and Claudin, F. (2012) Azuara and Ries impact structures: The Daroca
thrust geologic enigma – solved?
Ernstson, K., Schüssler, U., Claudin, F.M., Hiltl, M. (2011) Unusual melt rocks from
Claudin, F.M. and Ernstson, K. (2005) Regmaglypts on clasts from the Puerto Mínguez
ejecta, Azuara multiple impact event (Spain)
Ure, A., R. Westaway, R., Bridgland, D.R., Claudin, F., Ernstson, K. (2019) Kaş
(Turkey/Greece) and Rubielos de la Cérida (Spain) Meteorite Impact Structures:
Comparative Insights into Prominent Sedimentary Carbonate Targets. – 50th Lunar
and Planetary Science Conference 2019 (LPI Contrib. No. 2132), 1196.pdf.
Ernstson, K., Schüssler, U., Claudin, F., Ernstson, T., 2003: An Impact Crater Chain in
Northern Spain. – Meteorite, 9, 35-39.
Ernstson, K., Rampino, M.R. & Hiltl, M.: Cratered of cobbles in Triassic Buntsandstein
conglomerates in NE Spain: Shock deformation of in-situ deposits in the vicinity of
large impacts. Geology, v. 29, no.1, 11-14, 2001
Claudin, K., Ernstson, K., Rampino, M.R., and Anguita, F.: Striae, polish, imprints,
rotated fractures, and related features in the Puerto Mínguez impact ejecta (NE
Spain). Abstracts, 6th ESF IMPACT workshop, Impact Markers in the Stratigraphic
record, pp. 15-16, 2001. Poster
Hradil, K., Schüssler, U., and Ernstson, K.: Silicate, phosphate and carbonate melts as
indicators for an impact-related high-temperature inuence on sedimentary rocks of
the Rubielos de la Cérida structure, Spain. Abstract, 6th ESF IMPACT workshop,
Impact Markers in the Stratigraphic record, pp. 49-50, 2001. Poster
Ernstson, K., Rampino, M.R., and Hiltl, M.: Shock-induced spallation in Triassic
Buntsandstein conglomerates (Spain): an impact marker in the vicinity of large
impacts. Abstracts, 6th ESF IMPACT workshop, Impact Markers in the Stratigraphic
record, pp. 25-26, 2001. Poster
Ernstson, K., Claudin, F., Schüssler, U., Hradil, K., 2002: The mid-Tertiary Azuara and
Rubielos de la Cérida paired imapct structures (Spain). Treb. Mus. Geol. Barcelona, 11,
Schüssler, U., Hradil, K., Ernstson, K.2002: Impact-related melting of sedimentary
target rocks of the Rubielos de la Cérida structure in Spain. Berichte der Deutschen
Mineralogischen Gesellschaft, Beiheft 1 zum European Journal of Mineralogy, Vol. 14,
Ernstson, K., Claudin, F., Schüssler, U., Anguita, F, and Ernstson, T.: Impact melt
rocks, shock metamorphism, and structural features in the Rubielos de la Cérida
structure, Spain: evidence of a companion to the Azuara impact structure. Abstracts,
6th ESF IMPACT workshop, Impact Markers in the Stratigraphic record, pp. 23-24,
Ernstson, K., Rampino, M.R., Anguita, F., Hiltl, M., and Siegert, I.: Shock deformation
of autochthonous conglomerates near the Azuara impact structure, Spain: Geological
Society of America Abstracts with Program, v. 31, p. A-122., 1999.
Ernstson, K.: Looking for Geological Catastrophes: The Azuara Impact Case. – In:
Extinción y registro fósil (Extinction and the fossil record, E. Molina, ed.), Cuadernos
Interdisciplinares No. 5, 31-57, SIUZ, 1994.
Ernstson, K. & Fiebag, J.: The Azuara impact structure (Spain): new insights from
geophysical and geological investigations. – Int. J. Earth Sci., 81/2, 403-427, 1992.
References Chiemgau impact
Bauer, F., M. Hiltl, M.A. Rappenglück, K. Ernstson (2019): Trigonal and Cubic FE2SI
Polymorphs (Hapkeite) in the Eight Kilograms Find of Natural Iron Silicide from
Grabenstätt (Chiemgau, Southeast Germany). – 50th Lunar and Planetary Science
Conference, Poster, Abstract #1520, LPI Contrib. 2132.
Bauer, F. Hiltl, M., Rappenglück, M.A., Neumair, A., K. Ernstson, K. (2013): Fe2Si
(Hapkeite) from the subsoil in the alpine foreland (Southeast Germany): is it
associated with an impact? – 76th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting, Meteoritics &
Planetary Science, Volume 48, Issue s1, Abstract #5056.
Bauer, F., M. Hiltl, M. A. Rappenglück, K. Ernstson (2020): An eight kilogram chunk
and more: evidence for a new class of iron silicide meteorites from the Chiemgau
impact strewn eld (SE Germany). – Modern Problems of Theoretical, Experimental,
and Applied Mineralogy (Yushkin Readings – 7-10 December 2020, Syktyvkar,
Russia), Proceedings, 359-360.
Ernstson, K. (2016): Evidence of a meteorite impact-induced tsunami in lake
Chiemsee (Southeast Germany) strengthened. – 47th Lunar and Planetary Science
Conference, 1263.pdf. Abstract
Ernstson, K., Hilt, M., Neumair, A (2014).: Microtektite-Like Glasses from the
Northern Calcareous Alps (Southeast Germany): Evidence of a Proximal Impact Ejecta
. – 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, LPI Contribution No. 1777, p.1200.
Ernstson, K., T. G. Shumilova (2020): Chiemite — a high PT carbon impactite from
shock coalication/carbonization of impact target vegetation. – Modern Problems of
Theoretical, Experimental, and Applied Mineralogy (Yushkin Readings – 7-10
December 2020, Syktyvkar, Russia), Proceedings, 363-365.
Ernstson, K., J. Poßekel (2020): Digital terrain model (DTM) topography of small
craters in the Holocene Chiemgau (Germany) meteorite impact strewn eld. – 11th
Planetary Crater Consortium 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2251), Abstract #2019.
Ernstson, K., J. Poßekel, M. A. Rappenglück (2020): Near-ground airburst cratering:
petrographic and ground penetrating radar (GPR) evidence for a possibly enlarged
Chiemgau Impact event (Bavaria, SE-Germany). – 50th Lunar and Planetary Science
Conference, Poster, Abstract #1231.
Ernstson, K., J. Poßekel (2017): Meteorite Impact „Earthquake“ Features (Rock
Liquefaction, Surface Wave Deformations, Seismites) from Ground Penetrating Radar
(GPR) and Geoelectric Complex Resistivity/Induced Polarization (IP) Measurements,
Chiemgau (Alpine Foreland, Southeast Germany). – 2017 Fall Meeting, AGU, New
Orleans, 11-15 Dec. Abstract EP53B-1700
Ernstson, K., Müller, W., Neumair, A. (2013): The proposed Nalbach (Saarland,
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Ernstson, K., T. G. Shumilova, S. I. Isaenko, A. Neumair, M. A. Rappenglück: From
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coalication and carbonization. – Modern problems of theoretical, experimental and
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D. and Zeller, K.W. (2010): The Chiemgau crater strewn eld: evidence of a Holocene
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Ernstson, K., C. Sideris, I. Liritzis, A. Neumair (2012): THE CHIEMGAU METEORITE
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strewneld. – 11th Planetary Crater Consortium 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2251), Abstract
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Measurements. – 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1204, LPI
Contrib. 2132. https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2019/pdf/1204.pdf, Poster
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ERNSTSON CLAUDIN IMPACT STRUCTURES – METEORITE CRATERS Proudly powered by WordPress
mineralogy (Yushkin Memorial Seminar–2014) Proceedings of mineralogical seminar
with international participation Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russia 19–22 May 2014.
Rappenglück, M.A., Bauer, F. Hiltl, M., Neumair, A., K. Ernstson, K. (2013): Calcium-
Aluminium-rich Inclusions (CAIs) in iron silicide matter (Xifengite, Gupeiite,
Hapkeite): evidence of a cosmic origin – 76th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting,
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Frühgeschichte. Der Chiemgau-Impakt: Die Erforschung eines bayerischen
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Shumilova, T.G., S. I. Isaenko, V. V. Ulyashev, B. A. Makeev, M. A. Rappenglück, A. A.
Veligzhanin, K. Ernstson (2018): Enigmatic Glass-Like Carbon from the Alpine
Foreland, Southeast Germany: A Natural Carbonization Process. – Acta Geologica
Sinica (English Edition), Vol. 92, Issue 6, 2179-2200.