Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
IS PANTHER MOUNTAIN CIRCULAR FEATURE A CRATER?
The Panther Mountain circular feature is located in the Catskill Mountains in the town of Shandaken in Ulster County, NY. It is a circular mountain mass, 10 km in diameter and surrounded by an annular drainage pattern formed by Esopus Creek and its tributary Woodland Creek. The circular pattern made by the two creeks suggested to the late Yugvar Isachsen that the circular feature may be an impact crater buried beneath the surface. To prove his hypothesis, Isachsen had several geologic and geophysical studies of the feature. Ground exploration studies indicated unusually closely spaced fractures in the valleys of Esopus and Woodland Creeks thought to be due to overlap of sediments over the rim of the crater. Gravity studies indicated a small gravity low over the mountain believed to be caused by low density fractured rock in the crater. Finally, a study of over 660 cuttings from the Herdman gas well in the crater revealed the presence of black magnetic spherules, and pressure deformation features (PDFs) in quartz.
More recent seismic reflection surveys were conducted along Little Peck Hollow at the west side of the crater. No reflections occur above the 0.7 seconds two-way-travel time (1.7 km depth) suggesting no stratification or layering above 1.7 km. A reflection at 1.7 km depth may be interpreted as evidence of impact. A reflection at 1.02 secs (2.2 km depth) could be due to limestone beneath the crater. A reflection at 1.3 secs (3,000m) is due to the Precambrian metamorphic rocks.