© 2018

Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia


  • Offers a comprehensive account of the Australian asteroids impacts record

  • Constitutes in part as an Atlas of Australian impact structures and ejecta units

  • Includes a chapter on Astroid Impacts and crustal evolution


Part of the Modern Approaches in Solid Earth Sciences book series (MASE, volume 14)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 1-30
  3. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 31-59
  4. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 61-78
  5. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 79-122
  6. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 123-156
  7. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 157-171
  8. Andrew Y. Glikson, Franco Pirajno
    Pages 173-205
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 207-215

About this book


This book presents a comprehensive overview of Australian impact structures and related mineralization, including a discussion of the significance of many of these structures for crustal evolution. The book  focuses in particular on Archaean impact ejecta/fallout units in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia, large exposed and buried impact structures, and on the geophysical evidence for possible to probable impact structures. 
Thanks to their long-term geological stability, Precambrian and younger terrains in the Australian continent contain 38 confirmed impact structures and 43 ring and dome structures, many of which constitute possible to probable asteroid impact structures. The impact structures have been the subject of more than half a century of studies and range from several tens of meter-large craters to buried structures larger than 100 km in diameter. Discoveries of impact fallout units in the Pilbara Craton have defined the Pilbara as one of the two best documented terrains where Archaean impact ejecta/fallout deposits are identified, the other terrain being the Kaapvaal Craton in southern Africa. A synthesis of evidence from both cratons indicates periods of large asteroid bombardments during ~3.47 – 2.48 billion years-ago, including peak bombardment about 3.25—3.22 billion years-ago. The latter period coincides with an abrupt transformation of an early Archaean granite-greenstone crust to mid to late Archaean semi-continental crustal regimes, underpinning the significance of heavy asteroid impact events for crustal evolution. Apart from proven impact structures, Australian terrains display a range of circular features, including morphological and drainage rings, circular lakes, volcanic craters, tectonic domes, oval granite bodies, mafic igneous plugs, salt diapirs, and magnetic, gravity and seismic anomalies, many of which are of a likely impact origin. Thermal and hydrothermal processes associated with impact cratering bear important consequences for the formation of mineral deposits, such as Ni at Sudbury, Pb-Zn at Siljan and Kentland. Impact structures may also provide sites for the accumulation of hydrocarbons, whereas in some instances fracturing associated with impact structures allows outward migration of oil and gas.


Asteroids Impacts Australia Crustal Evolution Australian Asteroid Impacts

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Science InstituteAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Exploration TargetingThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

About the authors

Andrew Y. Glikson, an Earth and paleo-climate scientist, studied geology at the University of Jerusalem and graduated at the University of Western Australia in 1968. He conducted geological surveys of the oldest geological formations in Australia, South Africa, India and Canada; studied large asteroid impacts, including effects on the atmosphere and oceans of mass extinction of species. Since 2005 he studied the relations between climate and human evolution. He was active in communicating nuclear issues and climate change evidence to the public and parliament through papers, lectures, conferences and presentations.
Andrew Glikson has published already several earlier book volumes with Springer, among which "The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution" in 2013, "Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene", (with C. Groves), in 2016 and "The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth" in 2017.

Franco Pirajno is a recognized expert on mineral systems, with more than 50 years of experience, in industry, academia and government. He has extensive knowledge of tectonics, ore deposit geology in: Europe, southern Africa, South East Asia, New Zealand, southwest Pacific, China, southern Siberia, Greenland and Australia. He is the author of four books and a monograph on mineral deposits and of more than 175 peer-reviewed papers, 20 peer-reviewed geological maps and 68 unpublished company reports.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
  • Authors Andrew Y. Glikson
    Franco Pirajno
  • Series Title Modern Approaches in Solid Earth Sciences
  • Series Abbreviated Title Mod. Approach. Solid Earth
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Earth and Environmental Science Earth and Environmental Science (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-74544-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-09017-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-74545-9
  • Series ISSN 1876-1682
  • Series E-ISSN 1876-1690
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXII, 215
  • Number of Illustrations 21 b/w illustrations, 109 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Earth System Sciences
    Structural Geology
    Economic Geology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


“Terrestrial asteroid impact, as exemplified by Australia’s rich geological record of impacts spanning 3.5 billion years, is an important geological process that has influenced Earth’s crustal and biological evolution. This informative book by Dr Andrew Glikson and Dr Franco Pirajno places asteroids in space and time within the solar system, describes the world’s largest asteroid impact structures, discusses criteria for the recognition of asteroid impact, and examines Australia’s 81 proven, probable and possible impact structures and craters and related ejecta or fallout deposits. … The book also explores the influence of major impacts on crustal evolution, ore genesis and mass extinctions, with global and Australian examples. All in all, the authors have prepared a comprehensive review of terrestrial asteroid impact, with special reference to Australia, that will be most useful for geologists working in these fields.” (Professor George Williams, University of Adelaide, Expert on impact structures)

“This book is a welcome addition to the understanding of the consequences of asteroid impact globally, and for Australia in particular, over almost the entire history of the Earth. Criteria used to identify asteroid impacts range from macroscopic to microscopic, and are well referenced. The reference lists alone provide valuable compilations of information for researchers and explorers.” (Dr John D. Gorter, Consultant Geologist and expert on impact structures)

“This book provides an easy to read and well depicted, brief description of Australian impact structures and how to identify impact structures in general. The book makes special reference to Australian impacts, but the narrative is in a global context with examples of a number of renowned impacts elsewhere. I would recommend the book as a good reference for university courses in Geology as it provides, if anything else, a list of proved and possible impact structures worldwide. Moreover, the book provides a better understanding of the history of extraterrestrial impacts on Earth with a link to understanding geological processes and crustal evolution.” (Dr R. Iasky, Consultant geophysicist and expert on impact structures)

“Covering everything between solid planetary astronomy, early impact history and life origins, to the detailed listing of well proven asteroid impacts, this book continues to examine the proven and possible relationships of such events with petroleum and ore genesis. A wealth of new data from recent NASA and ESA probes is included in this well illustrated book. Excellent for any researcher and space enthusiast, as well as for modern High School and University science teaching.” (Prof. Victor Gostin, University of Adelaide)

“The book is the product of exhaustive and careful research,  … , well written and well organized, and will serve as a jumping-off point for any who are interested in further research. It is the most comprehensive work in this field and as such will be recognized as a standard that belongs in every major reference library and, doubtless in many personal collections.” (Prof. Hugh Davies,The University of Papua New Guinea)

This is a timely subject that will be of interest to scientists in wide-ranging fields of geology, astronomy, and biology.  … I know of no other scientist[s] that could do this. I did look at several of the major periods of Earth history that I am particularly interested in, and find that your book will be an excellent reference for scientists.” (Prof. Gary Byerly, Louisiana State University)