200 million years ago, 40 researchers and students, 2 to 6 days of field observation, 510 meters of drilling, these are the main figures of the last visit of a delegation of researchers and students to the site of the Rochechouart astrobleme.
Delegations of scientists have followed one another on the astrobleme site since the end of the drilling carried out in the fourth quarter of 2017, which allowed the extraction of 510 m of core in 8 of the sites of the Nature Reserve. Last May, 40 researchers and students from Sweden, Spain and Belgium came to visit the drilling sites, the various quarries located on the astrobleme, as well as the CIRIR sample library, in full construction in Rochechouart. , where the precious carrots are stored.
2 novices, Sarah and Peter, inhabitants of the site, accompanied this delegation and saw the region and the sites from a different perspective thanks to the explanations of 2 exceptional geologists: Philippe Claeys and Phillipe Lambert. The first is responsible for the geochemistry and planetary geology research teams at the Universities of Brussels, Ghent and Louvain, the second is director of CIRIR, scientific advisor and the Reserve and, among other things, directed the drilling carried out in 2017.
Surrounded by these 2 “big names”, the students were able to take stock of the site and its exceptional scientific potential:
the 200 million years that separate us from the impact have made it possible to “clean” the area by removing the sedimentary deposits subsequent to the impact which may have filled the crater, thus discovering the products of the impact and in particular the lava as at the Montoume quarry, breaches with molten debris as at Chassenon, a formidable place of interaction between geology, people and heritage (the site of the terms of Chassenon – 1st century – is built in breach from the quarries of the ‘astrobleme), and also locally discovering the floor of the crater with crushed rocks in particular below Pressignac, which attest to the rise of the bottom of the cavity after the impact.
The visiting days end with a conference:
Ph Claeys recognizes the uniqueness and little-studied nature of the astroblem, offering a wide range of findings. It also draws a parallel with the Ries site in Germany where a geo-tourism activity has been developed in partnership with the Berlin Museum of Natural History as part of the transmission of knowledge.
Ph Lambert focused on the drilling carried out during the 2017 campaign. Like those carried out in the Chicxulub impact in Mexico, the Rochechouart drilling is a unique opportunity to study the major impacts and their consequences. The cores managed by CIRIR on behalf of the Nature Reserve and the international scientific community are intended to be sampled and shared through international scientists who will analyze them under various criteria: chemical, geological, radiometric, The results of the analyzes will be then grouped together and will allow scientists to make hypotheses on the formation of the solar system, the planets, and why not on the arrival of life on Earth. Like Ph Claeys, Ph Lambert considered the astroblem to be a great springboard for the transmission of knowledge.
Finally the 200 million years that separate us from an event that destroyed everything in a diameter of 400 km, brought together seasoned scientists, PhD students and students in a process of transmission of knowledge, a sign that the Rochechouart’s astroblème surely has a bright future ahead of it.