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Planetary Data, Tecumseh, OK

Abstract: The Big Basin Impact Craters of Western Kansas

A sharply defined basin, 1,300 m in diameter, 35 m deep, and with internal drainage, is located 45 km south of Dodge City, Kansas. This feature is named Big Basin on topographic maps of the region. It has been considered to be of solution origin.

Remote sensing investigations of the area revealed that the feature had two small satellite pits approximately 300 rn in diameter. This cluster of holes is an isolated phenomenon in this area. However, the cluster of one large crater and two nearby smaller ones is similar to numerous primary impact crater clusters found on other planets. This type of clustering is not found in areas of karst. The remote sensing data further indicated prominent radial fracture sets and a polygonal shape that reflects the regional fractures.

Subsequent field work revealed that the strata on the rim of the larger hole dip radially away from the center of the feature. The rim and wall materials are intensely fractured. These observations are indicative of impact features and not solution features.

When, the Big Basin Crater is physically compared with Meteor Crater, Arizona, and Upheaval Dome, Utah, it shows a close similarity to Meteor Crater, Arizona. This similarity is indicated by polygonal shape, size and radial features. Big Basin appears to be partially filled with wall and rim materials. It is more eroded than Meteor Crater, Arizona. The walls of the Big Basin Crater contain cherts that appear to have been partially extracted by early man for tools. Tektites and magnetic material have been found beyond the rim area.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90921©1999 AAPG Mid-Continent Section Meeting, Wichita, Kansas