Seismic investigation of the Lake Bosumtwi impact crater: Preliminary results

Tobias Karp, Bernd Milkereit, Peter Janle, Sylvester K. Danuor, Jean Pohl, Hans Berckhemer, Christopher A. Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The Lake Bosumtwi impact crater in Ghana, West Africa, has a diameter of 10.5 km and is one of the youngest (1.07 Ma) well-preserved large craters on Earth. It has a total dynamic range of topography of more than 400 m, and it is the source crater of tektites and microtektites of the Ivory Coast strewn field. The crater was excavated in early Proterozoic rocks. According to its size, the Bosumtwi impact crater should be a complex impact structure, with a central peak. Multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection and wide angle data, using Ocean-Bottom-Hydrophones (OBHs), were acquired in order to investigate the structure's subsurface, image the presumed central uplift and determine the thickness of impact-related formations and the post-impact sediments. An integrated interpretation of the seismic data sets, and modelling and inversion of the OBH data yield an initial 2D velocity-depth model, which shows indications for a central peak feature. Due to the relatively low seismic velocity (3.0 kms-1) of the corresponding layer, the top of the uplifted structure is interpreted to consist of allochthonous breccia. The central peak has a width of ∼1.8 km and a maximum height of 120 m above the top of the breccia away from the center. Fracturing may be responsible for the relatively low velocity of 3.8 kms-1 in the crater floor. The post-impact sediments covering the crater structure are 180-300 m thick. The apparent crater depth, defined as the difference between the original target surface and the top of the breccia layer, is ∼550 m and thereby slightly deeper than some other larger complex impact structures on Earth. The results indicate that the Lake Bosumtwi impact structure provides an interesting setting for scientific drilling of a young large impact crater and will be supplemented by complimentary recent geophysical (potential field) and possibly future drilling studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-743
Number of pages9
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bosumtwi
  • Impact crater
  • Inversion
  • Seismics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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