Scientific Drilling (Jul 2008)

Marine Impacts and Environmental Consequences – Drilling of the Mjølnir Structure, the Barents Sea

  • Takafumi Matsui,
  • Frank T. Kyte,
  • Henning Dypvik,
  • Alex Deutsch,
  • Philippe Claeys,
  • Morten Smelror

Journal volume & issue
no. 6
pp. 55 – 57


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In September 2007, thirty-three scientists attended an international workshop in Longyearbyen (Svalbard, Norway) to discuss impacts of extraterrestrial bodies into marine environment and to prepare for the drilling of the 142-Ma-old Mjølnir impact structure in the Barents Sea (Fig. 1; Gudlaugsson, 1993; Dypvik et al., 1996, Tsikalas et al., 1998). A field trip visited the ejecta layer in the Janusfjellet Mountain in Isfjorden, just outside Longyearbyen (Fig. 2). The workshop focused on two topics: 1) mechanisms of marine impact cratering including ejecta formation and distribution, geothermal reactions, and the formation of tsunami, and 2) environmental effects of marine impacts. Both topics are highly relevant to the Mjølnir event and the geological evolution of the Arctic, as well as to the biological changes at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary. Against thisbackground were a) concrete drilling targets formulated, b) plans outlined for compiling data from existing geological and geophysical surveys as the basis for Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) drilling proposals, and c) a steering group and science teams established for compiling old and new material as a foundation for the developmentof drilling proposal.