Imperial College London

Dr. Auriol S. P. Rae

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Casual - Teaching Support







Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

12 results found

Rae A, Collins G, Poelchau M, Riller U, Davison T, Grieve R, Osinski G, Morgan J, IODPICDP Expedition 364 Scientistset al., 2019, Stress-strain evolution during peak-ring formation: a case study of the Chicxulub impact structure, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol: 124, Pages: 396-417, ISSN: 2169-9097

Deformation is a ubiquitous process that occurs to rocks during impact cratering; thus, quantifying the deformation of those rocks can provide first‐order constraints on the process of impact cratering. Until now, specific quantification of the conditions of stress and strain within models of impact cratering has not been compared to structural observations. This paper describes a methodology to analyze stress and strain within numerical impact models. This method is then used to predict deformation and its cause during peak‐ring formation: a complex process that is not fully understood, requiring remarkable transient weakening and causing a significant redistribution of crustal rocks. The presented results are timely due to the recent Joint International Ocean Discovery Program and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program drilling of the peak ring within the Chicxulub crater, permitting direct comparison between the deformation history within numerical models and the structural history of rocks from a peak ring. The modeled results are remarkably consistent with observed deformation within the Chicxulub peak ring, constraining the following: (1) the orientation of rocks relative to their preimpact orientation; (2) total strain, strain rates, and the type of shear during each stage of cratering; and (3) the orientation and magnitude of principal stresses during each stage of cratering. The methodology and analysis used to generate these predictions is general and, therefore, allows numerical impact models to be constrained by structural observations of impact craters and for those models to produce quantitative predictions.

Journal article

Riller U, Poelchau MH, Rae ASP, Schulte FM, Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Grieve RAF, Morgan JV, Gulick SPS, Lofi J, Diaw A, McCall N, Kring DA, IODPIC DP Expedition 364 Science Partyet al., 2018, Author Correction: Rock fluidization during peak-ring formation of large impact structures., Nature, Vol: 564, Pages: E36-E36

In this Article, the middle initial of author Kosei E. Yamaguchi (of the IODP-ICDP Expedition 364 Science Party) was missing and his affiliation is to Toho University (not Tohu University). These errors have been corrected online.

Journal article

Riller U, Poelchau MH, Rae A, Schulte FM, Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Grieve RAF, Morgan JV, Gulick SPS, Lofi J, Diaw A, McCall N, Kring DAet al., 2018, Rock fluidization during peak-ring formation of large impact structures, Nature, Vol: 562, Pages: 511-518, ISSN: 0028-0836

Large meteorite impact structures on the terrestrial bodies of the Solar System contain pronounced topographic rings, which emerged from uplifted target (crustal) rocks within minutes of impact. To flow rapidly over large distances, these target rocks must have weakened drastically, but they subsequently regained sufficient strength to build and sustain topographic rings. The mechanisms of rock deformation that accomplish such extreme change in mechanical behaviour during cratering are largely unknown and have been debated for decades. Recent drilling of the approximately 200-km-diameter Chicxulub impact structure in Mexico has produced a record of brittle and viscous deformation within its peak-ring rocks. Here we show how catastrophic rock weakening upon impact is followed by an increase in rock strength that culminated in the formation of the peak ring during cratering. The observations point to quasi-continuous rock flow and hence acoustic fluidization as the dominant physical process controlling initial cratering, followed by increasingly localized faulting.

Journal article

Lofi J, Smith D, Delahunty C, Le Ber E, Brun L, Henry G, Paris J, Tikoo S, Zylberman W, Pezard PA, Célérier B, Schmitt DR, Nixon C, Gulick SPS, Morgan JV, Chenot E, Christeson GL, Claeys P, Cockell CS, Coolen MJL, Ferrière L, Gebhardt C, Goto K, Green S, Jones H, Kring DA, Lowery CM, Mellett C, Ocampo-Torres R, Perez-Cruz L, Pickersgill AE, Poelchau M, Rae ASP, Rasmussen C, Rebolledo-Vieyra M, Riller U, Sato H, Smit J, Tomioka N, Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Whalen MT, Wittmann A, Xiao L, Yamaguchi KE, Bralower TJet al., 2018, Drilling-induced and logging-related features illustrated from IODP-ICDP Expedition 364 downhole logs and borehole imaging tools, Scientific Drilling, Vol: 24, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 1816-8957

Expedition 364 was a joint IODP and ICDP mission-specific platform (MSP) expedition to explore the Chicxulub impact crater buried below the surface of the Yucatán continental shelf seafloor. In April and May 2016, this expedition drilled a single borehole at Site M0077 into the crater's peak ring. Excellent quality cores were recovered from ~ 505 to ~1335m below seafloor (m b.s.f.), and high-resolution open hole logs were acquired between the surface and total drill depth. Downhole logs are used to image the borehole wall, measure the physical properties of rocks that surround the borehole, and assess borehole quality during drilling and coring operations. When making geological interpretations of downhole logs, it is essential to be able to distinguish between features that are geological and those that are operation-related. During Expedition 364 some drilling-induced and logging-related features were observed and include the following: effects caused by the presence of casing and metal debris in the hole, logging-tool eccentering, drilling-induced corkscrew shape of the hole, possible re-magnetization of low-coercivity grains within sedimentary rocks, markings on the borehole wall, and drilling-induced changes in the borehole diameter and trajectory.

Journal article

Christeson GL, Gulick SPS, Morgan JV, Gebhardt C, Kring DA, Le Ber E, Lofi J, Nixon C, Poelchau M, Rae ASP, Rebolledo-Vieyra M, Riller U, Schmitt DR, Wittmann A, Bralower TJ, Chenot E, Claeys P, Cockell CS, Coolen MJL, Ferrière L, Green S, Goto K, Jones H, Lowery CM, Mellett C, Ocampo-Torres R, Perez-Cruz L, Pickersgill AE, Rasmussen C, Sato H, Smit J, Tikoo SM, Tomioka N, Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Whalen MT, Xiao L, Yamaguchi KEet al., 2018, Extraordinary rocks from the peak ring of the Chicxulub impact crater: P-wave velocity, density, and porosity measurements from IODP/ICDP Expedition 364, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 495, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0012-821X

Joint International Ocean Discovery Program and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program Expedition 364 drilled into the peak ring of the Chicxulub impact crater. We present P-wave velocity, density, and porosity measurements from Hole M0077A that reveal unusual physical properties of the peak-ring rocks. Across the boundary between post-impact sedimentary rock and suevite (impact melt-bearing breccia) we measure a sharp decrease in velocity and density, and an increase in porosity. Velocity, density, and porosity values for the suevite are 2900–3700 m/s, 2.06–2.37 g/cm3, and 20–35%, respectively. The thin (25 m) impact melt rock unit below the suevite has velocity measurements of 3650–4350 m/s, density measurements of 2.26–2.37 g/cm3, and porosity measurements of 19–22%. We associate the low velocity, low density, and high porosity of suevite and impact melt rock with rapid emplacement, hydrothermal alteration products, and observations of pore space, vugs, and vesicles. The uplifted granitic peak ring materials have values of 4000–4200 m/s, 2.39–2.44 g/cm3, and 8–13% for velocity, density, and porosity, respectively; these values differ significantly from typical unaltered granite which has higher velocity and density, and lower porosity. The majority of Hole M0077A peak-ring velocity, density, and porosity measurements indicate considerable rock damage, and are consistent with numerical model predictions for peak-ring formation where the lithologies present within the peak ring represent some of the most shocked and damaged rocks in an impact basin. We integrate our results with previous seismic datasets to map the suevite near the borehole. We map suevite below the Paleogene sedimentary rock in the annular trough, on the peak ring, and in the central basin, implying that, post impact, suevite covered the entire floor of the impact basin. Suevite thickness is 100–165 m on the top of the peak

Journal article

Lowery CM, Bralower TJ, Owens JD, Rodríguez-Tovar FJ, Jones H, Smit J, Whalen MT, Claeys P, Farley K, Gulick SPS, Morgan JV, Green S, Chenot E, Christeson GL, Cockell CS, Coolen MJL, Ferrière L, Gebhardt C, Goto K, Kring DA, Lofi J, Ocampo-Torres R, Perez-Cruz L, Pickersgill AE, Poelchau MH, Rae ASP, Rasmussen C, Rebolledo-Vieyra M, Riller U, Sato H, Tikoo SM, Tomioka N, Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Vellekoop J, Wittmann A, Xiao L, Yamaguchi KE, Zylberman Wet al., 2018, Rapid recovery of life at ground zero of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, Nature, Vol: 558, Pages: 288-291, ISSN: 0028-0836

The Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction eradicated 76% of species on Earth1,2. It was caused by the impact of an asteroid3,4 on the Yucatán carbonate platform in the southern Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago 5 , forming the Chicxulub impact crater6,7. After the mass extinction, the recovery of the global marine ecosystem-measured as primary productivity-was geographically heterogeneous 8 ; export production in the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic-western Tethys was slower than in most other regions8-11, taking 300 thousand years (kyr) to return to levels similar to those of the Late Cretaceous period. Delayed recovery of marine productivity closer to the crater implies an impact-related environmental control, such as toxic metal poisoning 12 , on recovery times. If no such geographic pattern exists, the best explanation for the observed heterogeneity is a combination of ecological factors-trophic interactions 13 , species incumbency and competitive exclusion by opportunists 14 -and 'chance'8,15,16. The question of whether the post-impact recovery of marine productivity was delayed closer to the crater has a bearing on the predictability of future patterns of recovery in anthropogenically perturbed ecosystems. If there is a relationship between the distance from the impact and the recovery of marine productivity, we would expect recovery rates to be slowest in the crater itself. Here we present a record of foraminifera, calcareous nannoplankton, trace fossils and elemental abundance data from within the Chicxulub crater, dated to approximately the first 200 kyr of the Palaeocene. We show that life reappeared in the basin just years after the impact and a high-productivity ecosystem was established within 30 kyr, which indicates that proximity to the impact did not delay recovery and that there was therefore no impact-related environmental control on recovery. Ecological processes probably controlled the recovery of productivity after the Cretaceous/Palae

Journal article

Morgan JV, Artemieva N, Expedition 364 Science Party, 2017, Quantifying the release of climate-active gases by large meteorite impacts with a case study of Chicxulub, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 44, Pages: 10180-10188, ISSN: 0094-8276

Potentially hazardous asteroids and comets have hit Earth throughout its history, with catastrophic consequences in the case of the Chicxulub impact. Here we reexamine one of the mechanisms that allow an impact to have a global effect—the release of climate-active gases from sedimentary rocks. We use the SOVA hydrocode and model ejected materials for a sufficient time after impact to quantify the volume of gases that reach high enough altitudes (> 25 km) to have global consequences. We vary impact angle, sediment thickness and porosity, water depth, and shock pressure for devolatilization and present the results in a dimensionless form so that the released gases can be estimated for any impact into a sedimentary target. Using new constraints on the Chicxulub impact angle and target composition, we estimate that 325 ± 130 Gt of sulfur and 425 ± 160 Gt CO2 were ejected and produced severe changes to the global climate.

Journal article

Holm-Alwmark S, Rae A, Ferriere L, Alwmark C, Collins GSet al., 2017, Combining shock barometry with numerical modeling: insights into complex crater formation – The example of the Siljan impact structure (Sweden), Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Vol: 52, Pages: 2521-2549, ISSN: 1086-9379

Siljan, central Sweden, is the largest known impact structure in Europe. It was formed at about 380 Ma, in the late Devonian period. The structure has been heavily eroded to a level originally located underneath the crater floor, and to date, important questions about the original size and morphology of Siljan remain unanswered. Here we present the results of a shock barometry study of quartz-bearing surface and drill core samples combined with numerical modeling using iSALE. The investigated 13 bedrock granitoid samples show that the recorded shock pressure decreases with increasing depth from 15 to 20 GPa near the (present) surface, to 10–15 GPa at 600 m depth. A best-fit model that is consistent with observational constraints relating to the present size of the structure, the location of the downfaulted sediments, and the observed surface and vertical shock barometry profiles is presented. The best-fit model results in a final crater (rim-to-rim) diameter of ~65 km. According to our simulations, the original Siljan impact structure would have been a peak-ring crater. Siljan was formed in a mixed target of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks overlaying crystalline basement. Our modeling suggests that, at the time of impact, the sedimentary sequence was approximately 3 km thick. Since then, there has been around 4 km of erosion of the structure.

Journal article

Kring DA, Claeys P, Gulick SPS, Morgan JV, Collins GSet al., 2017, Chicxulub and the Exploration of Large Peak-Ring Impact Craters through Scientific Drilling, GSA Today, Vol: 27, Pages: 4-8, ISSN: 1052-5173

The Chicxulub crater is the only well-preserved peak-ring crater on Earth and linked, famously, to the K-T or K-Pg mass extinction event. For the first time, geologists have drilled into the peak ring of that crater in the International Ocean Discovery Program and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (IODP-ICDP) Expedition 364. The Chicxulub impact event, the environmental calamity it produced, and the paleobiological consequences are among the most captivating topics being discussed in the geologic community. Here we focus attention on the geological processes that shaped the ~200-km-wide impact crater responsible for that discussion and the expedition’s first year results.

Journal article

Rae A, Collins GS, Grieve RAF, Osinki GR, Morgan JVet al., 2017, Complex crater formation: Insights from combining observations of shock pressure distribution with numerical models at the West Clearwater Lake impact structure, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol: 52, Pages: 1330-1350, ISSN: 1086-9379

Large impact structures have complex morphologies, with zones of structural uplift that can be expressed topographically as central peaks and/or peak rings internal to the crater rim. The formation of these structures requires transient strength reduction in the target material and one of the proposed mechanisms to explain this behavior is acoustic fluidization. Here, samples of shock-metamorphosed quartz-bearing lithologies at the West Clearwater Lake impact structure, Canada, are used to estimate the maximum recorded shock pressures in three dimensions across the crater. These measurements demonstrate that the currently-observed distribution of shock metamorphism is strongly controlled by the formation of the structural uplift. The distribution of peak shock pressures, together with apparent crater morphology and geological observations, is compared with numerical impact simulations to constrain parameters used in the block-model implementation of acoustic fluidization. The numerical simulations produce craters that are consistent with morphological and geological observations. The results show that the regeneration of acoustic energy must be an important feature of acoustic fluidization in crater collapse, and should be included in future implementations. Based on the comparison between observational data and impact simulations we conclude that the West Clearwater Lake structure had an original rim (final crater) diameter of 35–40 km and has since experienced up to ~2 km of differential erosion.

Journal article

Morgan JV, Gulick SPS, Bralower T, Chenot E, Christeson G, Claeys P, Cockell C, Collins GS, Coolen MJL, Ferrière L, Gebhardt C, Goto K, Jones H, Kring DA, Le Ber E, Lofi J, Long X, Lowery C, Mellett C, Ocampo-Torres R, Osinski GR, Perez-Cruz L, Pickersgill A, Poelchau M, Rae A, Rasmussen C, Rebolledo-Vieyra M, Riller U, Sato H, Schmitt DR, Smit J, Tikoo S, Tomioka N, Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Whalen M, Wittmann A, Yamaguchi KE, Zylberman Wet al., 2016, The formation of peak rings in large impact craters, Science, Vol: 354, Pages: 878-882, ISSN: 0036-8075

Large impacts provide a mechanism for resurfacing planets through mixing near-surface rocks with deeper material. Central peaks are formed from the dynamic uplift of rocks during crater formation. As crater size increases, central peaks transition to peak rings. Without samples, debate surrounds the mechanics of peak-ring formation and their depth of origin. Chicxulub is the only known impact structure on Earth with an unequivocal peak ring, but it is buried and only accessible through drilling. Expedition 364 sampled the Chicxulub peak ring, which we found was formed from uplifted, fractured, shocked, felsic basement rocks. The peak-ring rocks are cross-cut by dikes and shear zones and have an unusually low density and seismic velocity. Large impacts therefore generate vertical fluxes and increase porosity in planetary crust.

Journal article

Rae ASP, Edmonds M, Maclennan J, Morgan D, Houghton B, Hartley ME, Sides Iet al., 2016, Time scales of magma transport and mixing at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai’i, Geology, Vol: 44, Pages: 463-466, ISSN: 0091-7613

Modeling of volcanic processes is limited by a lack of knowledge of the time scales of storage, mixing, and final ascent of magmas into the shallowest portions of volcanic plumbing systems immediately prior to eruption. It is impossible to measure these time scales directly; however, micro-analytical techniques provide indirect estimates based on the extent of diffusion of species through melts and crystals. We use diffusion in olivine phenocrysts from the A.D. 1959 Kīlauea Iki (Hawai’i, USA) eruption to constrain the timing of mixing events in the crustal plumbing system on time scales of months to years before eruption. The time scales derived from zonation of Fe-Mg in olivines, combined with contemporaneous geophysical data, suggest that mixing occurred on three time scales: (1) as much as 2 yr prior to eruption in the deep storage system; (2) in a shallow reservoir, between incoming hot melts and resident melt for several weeks to months prior to eruption; and (3) in the conduit and summit reservoir, between the resident magma and cooled surface lava, draining back into the vent on time scales of hours to several days during pauses between episodes. Synchronous inflation of the shallow reservoir with deep earthquake swarms and mixing suggests an intermittently open transcrustal magmatic system

Journal article

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