Christian KOEBERL, Ao. Univ. Professor Dr.

Summary Paleoclimatic Studies at Bosumtwi.
Background Sampling Meeting
ICDP Drilling Project - Planning Acknowledgments
ICDP Drilling Project - Operations References
Geophysics and Impact Results _
The 10.5-km-diameter 1.07 Ma Bosumtwi impact crater was the subject of an multidisciplinary and international drilling effort of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) from July to October 2004. Sixteen different cores were drilled at six locations within the lake, to a maximum depth of 540 m. A total of about 2.2 km of core material was obtained. Desite of some technical and logistical challenges, the project has been very successful and the first scientific results became available in early 2006. As part of this international project, the Austrian contribution in studying the drill cores consists of geochemical, petrographic, mineralogic, and petrophysical investigations.
The Bosumtwi impact crater is centered at 0632'N and 0125'W, and is almost completely filled by a lake. Lake Bosumtwi has been known to the scientific community since the beginning of the 20th century, but its origin was the subject of a controversy until the 1960, when petrological and isotope geochemical studies on tektites and impact glasses showed evidence for meteorite impact. It is one of 170 meteorite impact craters currently known on Earth. Bosumtwi is one of only four known impact craters associated with a tektite strewn field [1]. It is a well-preserved complex impact structure that displays a pronounced rim and is almost completely filled by the 8 km diameter Lake Bosumtwi (Fig. 1). The crater is excavated in 2 Ga metamorphosed and crystalline rocks of the Birimian System; it is surrounded by a slight near-circular depression and an outer ring of minor topographic highs with a diameter about 20 km. Only limited petrographic studies of rocks found along the crater rim and of ejecta (suevitic breccias) are availble so far [2].

Fig. 1: Panoramic image of the Bosumtwi impact crater (view from the north rim) (Photo: CK).

Recent petrographic and geochemical work confirmed the presence of shock metamorphic effects and the presence of a meteoritic component in the Ivory Coast tektites and the breccias at the crater (e.g., [1,2]).
Insights into the deep structure of the crater and the distribution and nature of ejected material and post-impact sediments were obtained by recent geophysical work over the past seven years, which included aeromagnetic and airborne radiometric maps, multi-channel seismic reflection and refraction profiles, and land- and barge-based gravity and magnetic studies. The first magnetic field studies of the structure were conducted in 1960, and revealed a central negative anomaly of ~40 nT, attributed to a breccia lens below the lake sediments. Gravity measurements, collected around the lake at this time, reflected only the regional trends. In 1997 a high-resolution airborne geophysical survey revealed a halo-shaped magnetic anomaly [3]. Seismic reflection and refraction data [4,5] defined the position of a 1.9 –km-diameter central uplift situated northwest of the center of the lake.
The goal of the integrated drilling, rock property and surface geophysical study was to study the three-dimensional building blocks of the impact crater (delineate key lithological units, image fault patterns, and define alteration zones). Results from the Lake Bosumtwi scientific drilling project are important for comparative studies and re-evaluation of existing geophysical data from large terrestial impact sites (for example, Sudbury, Vredeford, Chicxulub and Ries).
Lake Bosumtwi is a closed-basin lake with very broad paleoclimate significance and a detailed paleo-environmental record. The lake is at an ideal geographical location to provide data on past interannual to orbital-scale variations in the West African monsoon and Sahel drought. Lake Bosumtwi has accumulated a detailed record of varved lake sediments that can be used to monitor both past local and Sahel rainfall variations. Rainfall over much of sub-Sahara Africa was highly correlated on centennial and longer time scales. Such data will benefit not only Ghana, were rainfall-dependent agriculture contributes to more than 50% of the GDP, but also the large populations of the entire sub-Sahara region of West Africa. A complex record of changes in lake level, lake chemistry, climate, and vegetation history has been documented earlier shallow piston core studies. More recent work has confirmed the potential of such paleoclimatic studies.
ICDP Drilling Project - Planning
All previous recent studies led to the realization that further investigations can only be obtained from deep drilling. Such drilling is desirable for several reasons, including In terms of cratering studies, Bosumtwi is one of only two known young craters of this size, and may have a crucial diameter at the changeover between a traditional “complex” crater with a central peak and a crater structure that has a central peak-ring system, maybe similar to that of the Ries crater in Germany (which is twice as large). Drilling will allow to correlate all the geophysical studies and will provide material for geochemical and petrographic correlation studies between basement rocks and crater fill in comparison with tektites and ejected material.
The original proposal was to to obtain cores at nine locations in the crater lake, with core lengths ranging from 50 to 1035 meters, and total core length: 3 km sediments, 1 km impact-related rocks.
A number of questions can be answered by an integrated deep drilling project. The motivation for the drilling project included three main aspects:
to obtain detailed information on the subsurface structure and crater fill of one of the best preserved large young impact structures, to correlate these data with the recent geophysical studies, to obtain geophysical borehole data during and immediately after drilling, including downhole logging and vertical seismic profiling (to obtain a 3D image of the subsurface of the structure), to determine the presence and composition of melt bodies in the crater fill, and to perform comparative geochemical (including isotopic) and petrographical studies of the crater fill breccias, possible melt rocks, basement rocks, and known ejecta.
to determine astrobiological implications, including the study of type, speed, and quantity of biotic recovery after a catastrophic event (as well as comparison with recovery at volcanic calderas), to study post-impact hydrothermal systems and their implications for providing a “warm oasis” (such data are so far quite spare for terrestrial impact craters due to the limited state of preservation of most structures), to search for remnants of extremophiles in such hydrothermal deposits, to search for chemical fossils of immediate post-impact species, and to interpret the results in terms of comparative planetology (e.g., Mars, Europa).
to obtain a complete one-million-year paleoenvironmental record in an area for which so far only limited data exist; to reconstruct and investigate interannual through orbital-scale variations in the West African monsoon, the hydrologic variations of the Sahel, the dust export from SW Africa, and the sea-surface temperature variations in the tropical East Atlantic. Understanding the full range of climate variability in this region over the last 1 Ma will fill a major hole in our understanding of global climate dynamics, and also lead to an enhanced climate prediction capability over a wide area of our planet.

The following tables list first- and second-order scientific questions that can only be answered by a deep drilling program. This is clearly an interdisciplinary program, because the impact, astrobiology, and paleoenvironmental goals can only be answered together.
Table 1: Bosumtwi Crater Drilling: Goals from the Impact Perspective

 Largest young impact structure known on Earth
 Extremely well preserved (and well accessible)
 Detailed geophysical site surveys available
 Source crater of one of only four tektite strewn field
 No crater of this has has ever been studied in such detail – planetary perspectives

• Determine crater depth (apparent and to basement)
• Determine structure of central uplift
• Characterize target stratigraphy (central uplift stratigraphy)
• Measure post impact modification processes and effects (e.g., slumping)

• Determine if melt rocks are present
• Quantification of melt volume and breccia volume
• Origin of various impact breccias, constraints on cratering process
• Determine source rocks for tektites and fallout suevite
• Determine meteoritic component in crater-fill breccia and melt rocks, and determine meteorite type
• Occurrence of dyke breccias / pseudotachylitic breccias
• Comparison between fall-out and fall-back breccias
• Refine crater age from dating of impact melt
• Internal breccia stratigraphy
• Study clast population
• Melt breccias occurrence and distribution
• Origin of melt rocks
• Search for 0.8 Ma Australasian tektite (microtektite) occurrences in crater-fill sediments

• Provide ground-truth for previous aeromagnetic and other geophysical studies
• Petrophysical data for interpretation of gravity and magnetic models and seismic studies
• Obtain boundary conditions for modeling calculations
• Vertical seismic profiling to obtain 3D image of crater subsurface

• Study of shock deformation within central uplift, including crater floor
• Distribution through core of different grades of shock metamorphism: origin of ejecta clasts/melt,
   implications for cratering physics
• Carbon content in basement rocks and breccias
• Search for impact diamonds
• Search for shocked zircons
• Paleomagnetic study of shocked rocks and melts

• Search for possible evidence of other <1 Ma impact events (Australasian tektites) in post-impact sediments
• Study the interface between fall-back breccia and lake-fill sediments
• Climatic influences from impact-event


• Study possible post-impact hydrothermal system
• Examine hydrothermal mineralogy and isotope systematics
• Metamorphic as well as hydrothermal overprint on crater floor and sub-crater strata
• Thermal profile of post-impact heating
• Search for chemical/fossil evidence of post-impact life forms (chemical signatures of bacteria; e.g.,
• Post-impact carbon chemistry
• Hydrocarbon generation (see also paleoclimatology goals)
• Study of post-impact extreme environments and possible presence of extremophiles
• Implications for regional impact-induced destruction and localized trauma to living systems
• Climatic influences from impact-event
• Biotic recovery after impact: speed of recovery, types and quantity of species returning after impact
• Comparison of recovery with volcanic calderas (e.g., Crater Lake)
• Comparison with numerical calculations of hydrothermal systems
• Implications of data for impact craters of Mars and on Europa, as well as other comparative
   planetology aspects


Table 2: Bosumtwi Crater Drilling: Goals - Paleoenvironmental Perspective
 Longest & most cited continuous paleoenvironmental record in West Africa
 One of very few long high-sedimentation-rate varved sediment records in the world
 Proven recorder of hydrologic balance and terrestrial ecosystem variability (highly
    relevant to human systems) – the only such record in West Africa that is varved
 Likely recorder of Sahel aridity and tropical Atlantic sea-surface temperature
    variations - the only such record in West Africa or the western tropical Atlantic that is varved,
    and thus highly relevant to human systems
 Possibly the only high-resolution recorder of desert dust export from West Africa
 Best possible record for study of long-term ocean-atmosphere-land surface interactions in
    West + North Africa
 Uniquely valuable record for reconstructing and understanding secular variations in
    atmospheric radiocarbon, as well as the variations in solar output and ocean circulation that
    cause these variations
 West African location ideal for helping to understand environmental influences on human
    and societal evolution over the last 1 million years.
• Transfer astronomical theory to land, and to climate variability that impacts society
• Determine lags and leads between insolation forcing, tropical African climate, and broader
   Atlantic-wide change
• Quantify the sensitivity of tropical climate to changes in global climate forcing (i.e., insolation)
• Determine the relative influences of external astronomical forcing to impacts of
   changes within the climate system (e.g., ice-sheets, ocean circulation change, atmospheric
   trace-gas and aerosol changes)

• Establish new level of geochronological precision using an integrated
   varve-radiocarbon-paleomagnetic approach to study interannual to millennial-scale
   variability over 106 years
• Detail the impacts of late Quaternary abrupt change (i.e., Heinrich [H]and Dansgaard-Oeschger
   [D/O] events) on tropical systems
• Quantify roles of tropically regulated atmospheric trace-gases (e.g., CH4) and aerosol in
   abrupt change dynamics
• Measure impacts of H and D/O events on atmospheric radiocarbon, and use to unravel
   associated ocean dynamics.
• Determine the rates of ecosystem response and recovery to abrupt events

• Quantify response of regional (tropical and Sahel) interannual- to century-scale hydrologic
   variability to full range of altered climate forcing
• Test instrumental-based hypotheses regarding ocean forcing of West African monsoon
   variability, including during interglacials warmer than the present day
• Provide first detailed 40,000 record of solar-climate interactions
• Provide first African record of interannual to decade-scale variations associated with H and D/O events

• Measure the rates and patterns of terrestrial ecosystem response to climate shifts over all
   time scales of variability
• Quantify Bosumtwi limnological response to the full range of possible climate variability
• Define similarities and differences between present-day Bosumtwi systems (upland/aquatic)
   and pre-anthropogenic “natural” system
• Test role of tropics in modulating atmospheric trace-gas (e.g., CH4) and aerosol
   (e.g., desert dust) concentrations
• Examine relationships between climate variability, land-use and land-cover change, but
   locally in Ghana, and also in the Sahel to the north
• Produce record of dust aerosol export from Africa to S and N America; associated
   ecological/ biogeochemical impacts

• Establish environmental context for human population dynamics and societal change in
   West Africa, and Africa
• Differentiate human from non-human influences on regional land-cover, terrestrial ecosystems
   and lake system

• Quantify processes of hydrocarbon generation
• Refine understanding of lake sediment gas dynamics
• Ground-truth geophysical interpretations and improve methods of geophysical exploration
   in lacustrine systems
ICDP Drilling Project - Operations
After the surface studies were more or less exhausted in early 2000s, it was decided to pool the efforts for drilling in the form of a multinational and multidisciplinary study. This was submitted to ICDP as a preproposal in 2000, which was followed by a workshop proposal submitted January 2001. This workshop was held successfully in Potsdam in September of 2001; as a result, a full proposal was submitted to ICDP January 2002, which was approved in mid 2002 with 70% of the total cost. The PIs of that proposal (C. Koeberl, B. Milkereit, J. Overpeck, and C. Scholz) had to raise the remaining funds from their own national sources. The logistical preparations in Ghana and elsewhere started in late 2002, with the very important help of the Government of Ghana in the form of the Geological Survey Department of Ghana, and the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. After a lot of logistical, financial, and technical challenges the drilling operations started at the beginning of July 2004, and were completed on October 2, 2004. Drilling was accomplished using the GLAD800 coring system, a joint operation of DOSECC and ICDP (Fig. 2a,b).

Table 3. Scientific and operational staff who participated in the Lake Bosumtwi Drilling program.
Science Co-Managers and Co-PIs
Christian Koeberl (Impactite)
John Peck (Sediment)
University of Vienna, Austria
University of Akron, USA
Bob Hecky
John King
Bernd Milkereit
Jonathan Overpeck
Chris Scholz
University of Waterloo, Canada
University of Rhode Island, USA
University of Toronto, USA
University of Arizona, USA
Syracuse University, USA
Sediment Scientists
Kwame Ahumah
Mohammed Baba
Eric Boahen
Adam Carey
Bernard Dzirasah
Phil Fox
Chip Heil
Anna Henderson
Brad Hubeny
James Kamuah
Doug Schnurrenberger
Tim Shanahan
Daniel Somuah
Mike Talbot
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
Syracuse University, USA
University of Kumasi, Ghana
University of Akron, USA
University of Rhode Island, USA
University of Rhode Island, USA
University of Rhode Island, USA
University of Kumasi, Ghana
LacCore, University of Minnesota, USA
University of Arizona, USA
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
University of Bergen, Norway
Impactite Scientists
Eric Boahen
Daniel Boamah
Paul Buchanan
Christian Carnein
Sylvester Danuor
Philippe Claeys
Alex Deutsch
Ralf Gelfort
Elizabeth L'Heureux
Dona Jalufka
Forson Karikari
Tobias Karp
Jochem Kuec
Horton Newsom
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Doug Schmit
Refilwe Shelembe
Len Tober
Martin Toepfer
Hernan Ugalde
Marek Welz
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
ICDP OSG Potsdam, Germany
University of Kumasi, Ghana
Free University of Brussels, Belgium
University of Muenster, Germany
ICDP OSG Potsdam, Germany
University of Toronto, Canada
University of Vienna, Austria
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
University of Syracuse, USA
ICDP OSG Potsdam, Canada
University of New Mexico, USA
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
University of Alberta, Canada
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
University of Alberta, Canada
ICDP OSG Potsdam, Germany
University of Toronto, Canada
University of Alberta, Canada
Drilling Operations
Dave Altman
Kwako Atta-Ntim
Donald Bagley
Sylvester Blay
Sylvester Danuor
Mario Dobertin
Chris Delahunty
Bruce Howell
Kevin Loveland
Ailwasi Opoku
Marshall Purdey
Chris Walters
Egon Zech
Ghana Geological Survey, Ghana
University of Kumasi, Ghana
Kilindi Support Boat
Jack Greenberg
Jannadi Lapukenu
Syracuse University, USA
Syracuse University, USA
Local Laborers

The project was unique for the GLAD800 lake drilling system, because first lake sediment was collected and then, after a change in coring instrumentation, the underlying impact rock was collected by diamond coring. For the sediment sampling, five drill sites were occupied along a water-depth transect in order to facilitate the reconstruction of the lake level history, and for the hard rock drilling one of those sizes was revisited, and another new one was drilled. At these drill sites, a total of 16 separate holes were drilled. Table 3 lists all the people who actively participated in the drilling project on site and without whose help the project would not have been possible. In addition, numerous other colleagues who were not on site helped as well. Most of the people on the sediment drilling team are shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 4. Location map with ICDP boreholes and seismic profile shown in Fig. 5.

Geophysics and Impact Results
The new deep drill holes LB07A and LB08A are tied to the potential field and seismic data that define the Lake Bosumtwi impact structure (Fig. 4). Acquisition of zero-offset and multi-offset VSP data in deep hardrock holes LB07A and LB08A (Fig. 4) established a link with existing seismic data. Slim-hole borehole geophysical studies provide crucial information about the distribution of magnetized formations within the breccia and help locate discontinuous melt units in the proximity of the scientific drill hole(s). Information about the distribution of magnetic susceptibility and remanance of breccias and impact melt holds the key to an improved three-dimensional model for the Bosumtwi crater and its thermal history. Multi-offset vertical seismic (VSP) profiling support the integration of conventional logs and existing grid of multi-channel seismic and refraction seismic data. The offset VSP experiments are well suited for the integration of core/laboratory data, logs, and conversion of reflection seismic images from time to depth. By documenting the distribution of magnetic susceptibility and the impact related thermo-magnetic remanance, the distribution of the thermal effects of the impact will be outlined. Combining the horizontal resolution of the seismic surveys with the enhanced verticalresolution of the borehole magnetic surveys provide an ideal set-up for 3D modeling through data integration.

Fig. 5. Seismic section (from [4]) with deep boreholes, showing in black the hard rock (impactite) core.

The hard rock drilling phase, as well as borehole logging and geophysical studies, was completed on October 2, 2004. During that phase two boreholes, to depths of 540 and 450 m, respectively, were drilled in the deep crater moat, and on the outer flank of the central uplift as identified in seismic profiles. This represents about 200 m of impactites/breccias or fractured bedrock, with about 360 m of core having been recovered in total. Care was taken to make sure that all drilling operations took place on good-quality seismic lines (Fig. 5). In both cases casing was set through the lake sediment part of the section, and drilling, using diamond coring tools, started at the sediment/impactite (fallback suevite) interface. Drilling progressed in both cases through the melt rock / impact breccia layer into fractured bedrock.
After completion of the drilling operations, the hard rock cores (122 core boxes) were shipped to the GeoForschungsZentrum in Potsdam, Germany, for scanning and documentation; a sampling party took place January 23 and 24, 2005. For updates and details, see
Paleoclimatic Studies at Bosumtwi.
Owing to its impact crater origin, Lake Bosumtwi possesses several important characteristics that make it well suited to provide a record of tropical climate change. First, because of the great age of the crater (1.07 Ma) and location in West Africa, the lake sediments can provide a long record of change in North African monsoon strength. Lake Bosumtwi lies in the path of the seasonal migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the atmospheric boundary between NE continental trade winds and onshore SE trade winds (Fig. 6). During summer months, the ITCZ migrates to the north of Lake Bosumtwi and moisture-laden winds bring heavy, monsoonal precipitation to western Africa. The reverse occurs during winter months, as the ITCZ is displaced southward of Lake Bosumtwi and dry, aerosol-rich NE continental trade winds (Harmattan) dominate over southern Ghana.
Second, the high crater rim surrounding the lake results in a hydrologically-closed lake with a water budget extremely sensitive to the precipitation/evapotranspiration balance. Third, the steep crater wall and deep lake basin limit wind wave mixing of the water column. As a result, the deep water is anoxic, thereby limiting bioturbation and allowing for the preservation of laminated sediment varves and the potential for high resolution (annual) paleoclimate reconstruction (e.g., [6]).
In July and August 2004, a sediment drilling program was undertaken in order to gain greater insight into the role of the tropics in triggering, intensifying and propagating climate changes, as well as in responding to global and high-latitude changes. Five drill sites were occupied along a water-depth transect in order to facilitate the reconstruction of the lake level history. At these five drill sites, a total of 14 separate holes were drilled. Total sediment recovery was 1,833 m. For the first time the GLAD lake drilling system cored an entire lacustrine sediment fill from lake floor to bedrock. Although detailed sedimentologic study is just beginning, examination of the core catchers and core section breaks during drilling provided glimpses of the paleolimnologic record recovered in the cores (Figures 7 and 8). The complete 1 Ma lacustrine sediment fill was recovered from the crater ending in impact-glass bearing, accretionary lapilli fallout representing the initial days of sedimentation. The lowermost lacustrine sediment is a bioturbated, light-gray mud with abundant gastropod shells suggesting that a shallow-water oxic lake environment was established in the crater. Future study of the earliest lacustrine sediment will address important questions related to the formation of the lake and the establishment of biologic communities following the impact. Much of the overlying 294 m of mud is laminated (Figure 9) thus these sediment cores will provide a unique 1 million year record of tropical climate change in continental Africa at extremely high resolution. The shallow water drill sites consist of alternating laminated lacustrine mud (deepwater environment), moderately-sorted sand (nearshore beach environment) and sandy gravel (fluvial or lake marginal environments). These sediments preserve a record of major lake level variability that will extend the present Bosumtwi lake level histories obtained from highstand terraces and short piston cores further back in time.

Sampling Meeting
In late January 2005 a sampling meeting (called a “sampling party”) was held at the ICDP headquarters in Potsdam, Germany. Over a dozen research tems sampled the two dep drill cores. Samples were distributed in the spring of 2005 and first scientific results became available in early 2006.
For further details, see >here<
A summary of first results was published at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston in 2006
The full program and the abstracts of the special session on the Bosumtwi crater drilling project at the 2006 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference can be found >here<
The project has been supported by the Austrian FWF, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, ICDP, the U.S. NSF, and the Canadian NSERC.We are particularly grateful to the Geological Survey Department of Ghana (P. Amoako, Director) and the University of Kumasi (A. Menyeh, Dean) for all the logistical support, and to DOSECC (D. Nielson, President) for the operational support, and we appreciate that the project would not have succeded without the hard work of a dedicated group of DOSECC drillers, the Kilindi captain, local Ghanaian scientists, students, and workers, and a group of international scientists (Table 3). We also would like to acknowledge the support and hard work of the ICDP operational support group, in particular U. Harms, T. Wφhrl, and J. Kόck.
[1] Koeberl C. et al. (1997) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 61, 1745-1772.
[2] Koeberl C. et al. (1998) Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62, 2179-2196.
[3] Plado et al. (2000) Meteoritics Planet. Sci. 35, 723-732.
[4] Scholz C.A. et al. (2002) Geology 30, 939-942.
[5] Karp et al. (2002) Planet. Space Sci. 50, 735-742.
[6] Peck J. et al. (2004) Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoceol. 215, 37-57.
Christian KOEBERL   Althanstrasse 14   1090 Wien   AUSTRIA   phone: +43-1-4277-53110   fax: +43-1-4277-9534