The enigmatic Zerelia twin-lakes (Thessaly, Central Greece): two potential meteorite impact Craters

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Dietrich, V. J. ; Lagios, E. ; Reusser, E. ; Sakkas, V. ; Gartzos, E. ; Kyriakopoulos, K. (2013)

Two circular permanent lakes of 150 and 250 m diameter and 6–8 m depth to an unconsolidated muddy bottom occur 250 m apart from each other in the agricultural fields SW of the town of Almiros (Thessaly, central Greece). The age of the lakes is assumed to be Late Pliocene to Early Holocene with a minimum age of approx. 7000 yr BP. <br><br> The abundant polymict, quartz-rich carbonate breccia and clasts with a clay rich matrix in the shallow embankments of the lakes show weak stratification but no volcanic structures. The carbonate clasts and particles often display spheroidal shapes and consist of calcite aggregates with feathery, arborescent, variolitic to micro-sparitic textures and spheroidal fabrics, recrystallized and deformed glass-shaped fragments, calcite globules in quartz; thus indications of possible carbonate melting, quenching and devitrification. The carbonatic matrix includes small xenomorphic phases, such as chromspinel, zircon with blurred granular and skeletal textures, skeletal rutile and ilmenite, which are interpreted as relicts of partial melting and quenching under high temperatures of 1240–1800 °C. Only a few quartz fragments exhibit indistinct planar fractures. In several cases they include exotic Al-Si- and sulfur bearing Fe-phases, < 1–10 &mu;m as globules. <br><br> The modeled "Residual Gravity" profiles through the lakes indicate negative gravity anomalies of bowl-type structures down to 150 m for the eastern lake and down to 250 m for the larger western lake. Several hypotheses can be drawn upon to explain the origin of these enigmatic twin-lakes: (a) Maar-type volcanic craters; (b) hydrothermal or CO<sub>2</sub>/hydrocarbon gas explosion craters; (c) and (d) doline holes due to karstification; or (e) small meteorite impact craters, the latter being a plausible explanation due to geologic, petrologic, and geophysical evidence. <br><br> The morphology and dimensions of the lakes as well as the density contrast tomography of the bedrock favor a meteorite impact hypothesis of a projectile, which may has split into two fragments before reaching the surface.
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