School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


Rochechouart Meteorite Impact Site, France

A few pictures taken on a fleeting visit to Rochechouart in July 2000. This is a 23km diameter meteorite impact site produced about 200 million years ago.

The Chateau

The Chateau at Rochechouart, being converted to an Art Gallery in the summer of 2000.

Chateau main entrance

The north facade. The chateau is built from blocks of breccia generated during the meteorite impact.

Impact breccia

Building block forming the door jam and typical of much of the impact breccia.

The Museum

The meteorite impact site museum is well worth a visit.

Church spire

An unusual church spire. The church and most of the buildings in the town are made from blocks carved from impact breccia.

Church doorway

A number of different types of impact breccia are represented as different colour tones in the blocks of the church facade.

Two breccia types

Close up view of two building block with different hues representing different breccia types.

Slag or impact melt?

Specimen collected from the rubble of building work by the Chateau entrance. Notably dense! Could this be a piece of the meteorite? Cut and polished surface shows glass with spinifex texture and rare reflective globules. X-ray diffraction of brown mineral scraped from the surface is conclusively fayalite. Carbonised wood (?) embedded in the surface. Probably furnace slag! The cracks developed during cutting.

Slag close-up

A close up view of the cut and polished surface of the specimen thought to be slag. The spinifex texture is barely visible above a row of bubbles at the lower left.

Map of France

Well worth a visit, even for those not interested in rocks!