Barringer Medal

Barringer Family Fund

The Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research has been established as a memorial to recognize the contributions of Brandon, Moreau, Paul, and Richard Barringer to the field of meteoritics and the Barringer family’s strong interest and support over many years in research and student education. In addition to its memorial nature, the Fund also reflects the family’s long-standing commitment to responsible stewardship of The Barringer Meteorite Crater and the family’s steadfast resolve in maintaining the crater as a unique scientific research and education site.

Each year, the Barringer Family Fund awards a small number of competitive grants of 2500-5000 USD to support MA, PhD, and postdoctoral students as they carry out field research at known and suspected impact sites around the world. Between its establishment in 2002 and 2015, the Barringer Family Fund has supported the research of 50 students. Applications should be submitted through the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

The Barringer Crater Company and its scientific advisors endorse efforts to make the field of Meteoritics and Planetary Science more welcoming to a diverse array of talented scientists. Since 2002, The Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research has awarded almost half of its research grants to women, based on the scientific merits of their proposals and the quality of their work. The Barringer Crater Company has a strong interest in encouraging and supporting scientific exploration and research within the field of meteoritics for women as well as men, and expects all associated scientists to treat their colleagues and students with mutual respect.

Sponsored Students of 2017

Kimberley Beaton, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Project: Investigating the age of impact events using high-precision Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd garnet chronology, in shock-heated crater basement rocks – a case study from the Vredefort Dome

Leticia Pacetta De Marchi, Auburn University, USA

Project: Marine resurge sequences in drill cores FC-67-3 and FC-77-3 – Flynn Creek Impact Structure, Tennessee, USA.

Naomi McCall, University of Texas-Austin, USA

Project: Field studies of Ries and Steinheil craters 

Maree McGregor, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Project: Revisiting remote impact craters; A Geochronological and Shock Metamorphic study of the Nicholson Lake impact crater, Canada.

Kate O’Malley, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, USA

Project: Post-impact evolution of Chicxulub Crater: Sedimentological Analysis of the Cretaceous-Paleogene Impact, Mexico

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Akira Fujiwara

Akira Fujiwara received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics from The University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1989,1991, and 1994, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled "Resonant electron capture in semiconductor quantum wells". In 1994, he joined LSI Laboratories, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corporation, Kanagawa, Japan. He moved to the Basic Research Laboratories (BRL) in 1996. He was a guest researcher at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, USA during 2003-2004. Since 2006, He is a group leader of Nanodevcies Research Group, NTT BRL. In 2007-2015, He is a Distinguished Technical Member, NTT BRL. Since 2012, he also serves as an Senior Manager of Physical Science Laboratory. Since 2015, He is a NTT Senior Distinguished Scientist. In 2011-2014 he was supported by the funding program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (NEXT Program), JSPS.


Kimberly Beaton

Investigating the age of impact events using high-precision Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd garnet chronology, in shock-heated crater basement rocks – a case study from the Vredefort Dome

Geology and science in general have always been intriguing to me. I always thoroughly enjoyed chemistry at school and was curious about how the world worked, and how it formed. I was first exposed to the geology of impacts on my first year field trip to the Tswaing Meteorite Impact Crater, north of Johannesburg, South Africa. I was then exposed to more intense impact geology on my third year mapping field trip to the Vredefort Dome. The effect of the impact on the target rocks was fascinating to me, so I continued to study the Dome. My Honours project was about a metadolerite sill in the Vredefort Dome. In that project, I looked at the metamorphic history of the sill, as well as determining the correlative age of the sill. 

The project that I am currently undertaking for my M.Sc. at the University of the Witwatersrand, is about determining the age of metamorphic events in the central Kaapvaal Craton, in particular, in the Vredefort Dome. The aims of this project are to determine the ages of garnet growth within the Dome and place them into the context of the thermal history of the central Kaapvaal Craton. Another aim is to verify whether garnet chronology can be used to date the age of the impact. Dating impact structures is difficult when using zircon because of its robust nature. Garnet is a versatile mineral because it can form in many different tectonic settings under very variable P-T conditions. The generous funding from the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research will be used predominantly to fund my trip to Boston, MA, to make use of the garnet chronology facilities available at Boston College. My project is supervised by Dr Grant Bybee and Prof. Roger Gibson from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. The garnet chronology at Boston College will be done under the supervision of Prof. Ethan Baxter. 


Naomi McCall

My project will investigate the internal structure of Ries and Steinheim craters, two transitionally sized impact craters in Southern Germany. Fieldwork will take place in August of 2017 in collaboration with A. Jõeleht from University of Tartu, Estonia and T. Kenkmann of University of Freiburg, Germany. We will acquire high resolution seismic reflection profiles across Ries and Steinheim craters to image their internal structure up to 1-2 km depth. This field work would be the first time that the craters have been imaged using high-resolution seismic reflection data, and this data aim help to understanding of the cratering process and the transition from simple bowl shaped craters to complex craters with central uplift, a peak ring or a series of peak rings. I am very excited to take part in this research and honored to have received the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research Grant.

Maree McGregor

"Revisiting remote impact craters; A Geochronological and Shock Metamorphic study of the Nicholson Lake impact crater, Canada."

The funds awarded to this project by the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research will enable me to revisit and improve the characterization of the remote Nicholson Lake impact crater by undertaking detailed geological mapping and sample collection. In-situ shock levels and the shock attenuation gradient will be established using pressure-temperature controlled phase transformations and microstructures in zircons. Using these crystallographic responses, the pre-impact, peak conditions, and post-impact conditions generated during the compression, excavation and modification stages will be used to construct a pressure-temperature of Nicholson Lake. In addition, samples will be used to further constrain the methodologies on in situ Laser Ablation-ICP-MS U-P dating of apatite to determine the timing of impact melt formation in small complex craters. This will be undertaken using both Nicholson Lake samples and samples collected from Lake Saint Martin en route to the study area. With preliminary application of this on Nicholson Lake revealing an impact age of 389 ± 6.7 Ma, using this technique will constrain both the age of Lake Saint Martin and further improve this technique.

I have been fascinated with science, specifically planetary science and geology, since I was given my first book on images of the universe at the age of 11. The unknowns and the fact that as a scientist, you get to try and understand these unknowns is the main reason I am interested in science. Since doing my Undergraduate degree at James Cook University, Australia I became aware of the field of planetary geology and that I could combine both my passions into one and make a career out of it! Now, doing my MSc at the University of New Brunswick I get to study the unknowns of impact cratering! I am currently interested in pressure-temperature controlled shock features and microstructures in minerals, for example zircon, as a means of understanding the PT evolution of rocks during impact events.

Need actual photo... NOT an image placed into Word doc. LETICIA PACETTA DE MARCHI

Need actual photo... NOT an image placed into Word doc. LETICIA PACETTA DE MARCHI


My research is focused on resurge deposits within the moat-filling breccia at Flynn Creek crater, a marine-target impact structure formed approximately 382 million years ago on the northeastern edge of the central basin of Tennessee, in Jackson County, USA. The impact event occurred in shallow marine waters of an epicontinental shelf. The target was Upper Ordovician carbonates ranging from the Knox Group through the Catheys-Leipers Formation, which belongs to the Nashville Group. Following the impact, the crater was filled with fall-back and resurge-related breccia. The Chattanooga Shale is the post-impact unit overlying the entire structure.

The main objective of my thesis is to explore the formation processes of resurge deposits, which represent the material transported back into the crater by the resurging seawater. The deposits are being studied using conventional line-logging and petrographic analysis of core samples from well FC77-3 and FC67-3, which are situated in the crater moat on opposite sides of the central uplift. The crater moat represents the thickest sedimentary section and provides a detailed record of the infilling process. The results will be fundamental for understanding of early modification, crater-filling processes, and for interpretation and comparisons to other marine-target craters.

I had my first contact with impact crater science in college, which really caught my attention and made me realize how impacts were fundamental in the formation of all terrestrial planets and how they were responsible for big extinctions and, consequently, the current life forms that we have today. At present, my interest is focused on Earth’s impact structures, specifically infilling deposits in marine-target craters. I see the study of Earth’s structures, where we can better observe the processes by sampling and field observations, as a first step in understanding other planetary surfaces. I hope to keep progressing in my research and contribute to impact science in Earth and other terrestrial planets.



Post-impact evolution of Chicxulub Crater: Sedimentological Analysis of the Cretaceous-Paleogene Impact, Mexico:

Chicxulub impact crater, located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is the only known terrestrial impact structure to be directly linked to a mass extinction event.  This unique distinction provides an excellent opportunity to study the sedimentological, biological, and geochemical response following an impact in a marine environment. The goal of this study is to document the recovery of the biosphere and subsequent return to carbonate deposition within the crater.  We hypothesize that geochemical proxies for redox, productivity, and detrital input will indicate the return of geochemical conditions necessary for carbonate deposition concurrently with the re-emergence of microfossils and increases in the ichnofabric index present in our study section. The research proposed here will not only contribute to the continuing work on the Chicxulub crater, but serve to further our understanding of the response of carbonate platforms and the biosphere to impact events. 

With the funds generously bestowed on me by the Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact research, I plan to travel to Bremen, Germany where the IODP core repository is located.  Access to a complete core will allow a higher resolution microfacies and ichnofabric assessment, as well as provide greater context overall.   

My interest in science began at an early age when my mother, a biologist, gave me a simple microscope for my birthday.  My backyard investigations of water and dirt started a lifelong interest in the natural world around me.  Later in life, this manifested in a fascination with geology, and in particular carbonate rocks.  The information we can get from them, and their documentation of water chemistry and life is an invaluable resource, particularly within the Chicxulub crater, where we still have much to learn about the events following the K/Pg event.