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Master of Science




Dr. Desmond Moser


The Vredefort central uplift, or ‘dome,’ represents the erosional remnant of one of the largest (~300 km diameter) and oldest (~2.020 Ga) terrestrial impact structures. This investigation was performed to help elucidate the complexity of the shock process on zircon, incorporating various electron beam methods, including BSE and SE imaging, EBSD, CL, and EDS (mapping and semi-quantitative compositional analysis). A new shock microstructural progression in terrestrial zircon is suggested, as well as a complete structure-wide analysis of impact melt inclusions in zircon. Regional trends in the effects of shock on zircon are included. Impact melt glass inclusion compositions vary widely, from felsic to mafic inclusions, and are related to the melting of local minerals. This study is significant for the future study of similiar impact structures on other rocky planets, and the quantification and qualification of shock conditions as recorded in zircon.

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