Paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study of the Mistastin Lake impact structure (Labrador, Canada): Implications for geomagnetic perturbation and shock effects

Gwenaël Hervé, Stuart A. Gilder, Cassandra L. Marion, Gordon R. Osinski, Jean Pohl, Nikolai Petersen, Paul J. Sylvester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We carried out an integrated rock magnetic and paleomagnetic study of the ~36 Ma Mistastin Lake (Labrador, Canada) meteorite impact structure in order to investigate whether energy from the collision influenced the geodynamo and to assess the effects of shock on the magnetic properties of the target basement rocks. Stepwise demagnetization of 114 specimens isolates a well-defined magnetization component throughout the crater whose overall mean deviates slightly from the expected direction for North America at the time of impact. Paleointensity results from seven samples meeting stringent selection criteria show no significant difference with a global compilation from 40 to 30 Ma. The combined results, including those from a ~80 m-thick profile of an impact melt unit (Discovery Hill), lend no support that the impact caused an aberration of the geodynamo within a few centuries of a bolide collision that created the ~28 km-diameter crater. Both titanium-rich and titanium-poor titanomagnetite carry the magnetic remanence in the impact melt rocks; their relative proportions, compositions and domain states are cooling rate dependent. Magnetic hysteresis parameters of the magnetite-bearing anorthositic basement rocks reveal systematic changes as a function of distance from the crater's center with an increasing prevalence of single domain-like grains toward the center. Changes with radial distance are also found in the character of the Verwey transition in magnetite. Basement rocks were thermally overprinted when lying less than a meter from the impact melt rocks; Mesoproterozoic basement rocks more than a meter below the impact melt rocks hold similar magnetization directions to those expected from a 1500 Ma result for Laurentia. No evidence exists that shock heating of the basement rocks exceeded 200 °C at distances of 6-7 km from the crater's center.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Impact crater
  • Paleointensity
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Shock


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