Annemarie Pickersgill

PhD Student, SUERC

Telephone: 01355 270145


PhD project: “The effect of shock metamorphism on the Ar isotopic system and implications for radiometric age dating of impact craters.”

Current Research

The purpose of my research is to determine the effects of shock metamorphism on the retention and resetting of the argon (Ar) isotopic system in K-rich rocks, and use this system to date hypervelocity impact craters.

I am following three main paths to investigate the full effects of shock metamorphism on Ar retention in shocked rocks. I am studying both experimentally and naturally shocked materials. The naturally shocked materials come primarily from the Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico, and the Boltysh impact structure, Ukraine. These are of particular interest as they have been suggested to have formed at the same time, around the time of the K-Pg boundary 66 Ma years ago. This project will therefore also provide better resolution to the chronology of events surrounding the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Previous Research

My MSc research focussed on quantifying shock level in plagioclase feldspars from the Mistastin Lake impact structure and Apollo samples. I have also been involved in several analogue missions, helping to develop strategies and operations for effective robotic and human exploration of Earth’s Moon and Mars.


The University of Western Ontario

2012-2014, M.Sc. Geology/Planetary Science (Department of Earth Science)

Thesis title: Shock metamorphic effects in lunar and terrestrial plagioclase feldspar investigated by optical petrography and micro-x-ray diffraction

2007-2011, B.Sc. Planetary Science (Department of Physics & Astronomy)

Project title: Characterization of shock and glass clast morphology in impact melt-bearing breccia, Mistastin Lake impact structure, Labrador, Canada

Research Interests

  • Shock metamorphism
  • Impact cratering
  • Mineralogy
  • 40Ar/39Ar  geochronology
  • Planetary exploration


6.   Morgan, J. V, Gulick, S.P.S., Bralower, T., Chenot, E., Christeson, G., Claeys, P., Cockell, C., Collins, G.S., Coolen, M.J.L., Ferrière, L., Gebhardt, C., Goto, K., Jones, H., Kring, D.A., Le Ber, E., Lofi, J., Long, X., Lowery, C., Mellett, C., Ocampo-Torres, R., Osinski, G.R., Perez-Cruz, L., Pickersgill, A., Poelchau, M., Rae, A., Rasmussen, C., Rebolledo-Vieyra, M., Riller, U., Sato, H., Schmitt, D.R., Smit, J., Tikoo, S., Tomioka, N., Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J., Whalen, M., Wittmann, A., Yamaguchi, K.E., Zylberman, W. (2016). The formation of peak rings in large impact craters. Science. 354(6314), 878-882.

5.   Pickersgill, A. E., Flemming R. L., Osinski G. R. (2015b). Toward quantification of strain-related mosaicity in shocked lunar and terrestrial plagioclase by in situ micro-X-ray diffraction. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. 50(11), 1851-1862.

4.   Pickersgill, A. E., Osinksi G. R., Flemming R. L. (2015a). Shock effects in plagioclase feldspar from the Mistastin Lake impact structure, Canada. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. 50(9), 1546-1561.

3.   Antonenko I., Osinski G.R., Battler M., Beauchamp M., Cupelli L., Chanou A., Francis R., Mader M. M., Marion C., McCullough E., Pickersgill A.E., Preston L.J., Shankar B., Unrau T., Veillette D. (2013) Issues of Geologically-Focused Situational Awareness in Robotic Planetary Missions: Lessons from an Analogue Mission at Mistastin Lake Impact Structure, Labrador, Canada. Advances in Space Research. 52(2), 272-284.

2.   Osinski G. R., Tornabene L. L., Banerjee N. R., Cockell C. S., Flemming R., Izawa M. R. M., McCutcheon J., Parnell J., Preston L., Pickersgill A. E., Pontefract A., Sapers H. M., Southam G. (2013) Impact-generated hydrothermal systems on Earth and Mars. Icarus. 224(2), 347-363.

1.   Moores J., Francis R., Mader M. M., Osinski G. R., Barfoot T., Barry N., Basic G., Battler M., Beauchamp M., Blain S., Bondy M., Capitan R. D., Chanou A., Clayton J., Cloutis E., Daly M., Dickinson C., Dong H., Flemming R., Furgale P., Gammel J., Ghafoor N., Hussein M., Grieve R., Henrys H., Jaziobedski P., Lambert A., Leung K., Marion C., McCullough E., McManus C., Neish C. D., Ng H. H., Ozaruk A., Pickersgill A., Preston L. J., Redman D., Sapers H., Shankar B., Singleton A., Souders K., Stenning B., Stooke P., Sylvester P., Tornabene L. (2012) A Mission Control Architecture for Lunar Sample Return as Field Tested in an Analogue Deployment to the Sudbury Impact Structure. Advances in Space Research.  50(12), 1666-1686.