The response of organic matter to high-temperature events is important to astrobiology, as it governs the survival of carbon during several processes that may be critical to the origin and spread of life. Impact cratering is a widespread high-temperature process. The behaviour of carbon during impact events is not well understood. But there is the potential to examine other examples of the response of organic matter to high-temperature processes in the terrestrial geological record. In this study, we report on the interaction of Tertiary igneous intrusions (dolerite sills) and carbon-rich Jurassic mudrocks on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Despite the high temperatures of the igneous intrusion, carbon has been preserved at the dolerite-shale contact and in shale enclaves where partial melting of the shale has occurred. Even though the temperatures achieved by igneous intrusion are much lower than during impact events, it is a valuable analogue, because it represents a rapid introduction of high temperatures to a carbon-rich rock.
- Igneous intrusion
- Impact craters