Integrated Search Menu

Axel Wittmann

Profile photo
Associate Research Scientist
Academic Professional, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 8301
Biography: 

Axel Wittmann manages the electron microprobe laboratory of Arizona State University’s Eyring Materials Center and pursues petrologic studies of terrestrial and extraterrestrial hypervelocity impact rocks.

The Jeol JXA-8530F Hyperprobe is a second generation field emission microprobe that allows to obtain chemical analyses of sub-micrometer-size regions of solid samples. In addition, this electron microprobe has excellent imaging capacity with a maximum resolution of 3 nm, including secondary electrons, back-scattered electrons, X-rays, and cathodoluminescence.

Axel Wittmann’s research interests are impact-processed rocks that record the flux of cometary and asteroidal material in the inner solar system. By unravelling the shock metamorphism and petrographic contexts of indicator minerals, he collaborated with the reconstructions of the formation history of rocks from the K-T Chicxulub crater (“Dinoslayer”), Chesapeake Bay crater (largest known impact structure in the US), and El’gygytgyn crater (NE Siberia). Moreover, he contributed to constrains of the origins of martian regolith breccia meteorites and several lunar meteorites.

Education: 

PhD, Department of Mineralogy, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany, 2006

Diplom, Department of Geology-Paleontology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen, Germany, 2001

Graduate Studies, Department of Geology, University of Georgia, Athens, 1997–1998

Vordiplom, Department of Geology-Paleontology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen, Germany, 1996

Research Interests: 

I am primarily interested in the formation and emplacement of terrestrial and extraterrestrial impact rocks that chronicle the collision history of our Solar System.

By analyzing the chemistry of these materials, and the shock metamorphism and pyrometamorphism of their rock-forming minerals, I aim to constrain the provenance of target rocks, estimate the dimensions of cratering events, identify the nature of impactors, and age-date their formation.

Publications: 

Wittmann A., Korotev R. L., Jolliff B. L., Nishiizumi K., Jull A. J. T., Caffee M. W., Zanetti M., and Irving A. J. (in press) Petrogenesis of Lunar Impact Melt Rock Meteorite Oued Awlitis 001. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Timms N. E., Pearce M. A., Erickson T. M., Cavosie A. J., Rae A. S. P., Wheeler J., Wittmann A., Ferriere L., Poelchau M. H., Tomioka N., Collins G. S., Gulick S. P. S., Rasmussen C., Morgan J. V. and Scientists I.-I. E. (2019) New shock microstructures in titanite (CaTiSiO5) from the peak ring of the Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology.

Wittmann A., Korotev R. L., Jolliff B. L., and Carpenter P. K. (2019) Spinel Assemblages in Lunar Meteorites Graves Nunataks 06157 and Dhofar 1528: Implications for Impact Melting and Equilibration in the Moon’s Upper Mantle. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Lofi J., Smith D., Delahunty C., Le Ber E., Brun L., Henry G., Paris J., Tikoo S., Zylberman W., Pezard P. A., Célérier B., Schmitt D. R., Nixon C., Gulick S., Morgan J. V., Bralower T. J., Chenot É., Christeson G. L., Claeys P. F., Cockell C. S., Coolen M., Ferrière L., Gebhardt C., Green S., Goto K., Jones H., Kring D. A., Lowery C., Mellett C., Ocampo-Torres R., Perez-Cruz L. L., Pickersgill A., Poelchau M., Rae A., Rasmussen C., Rebolledo-Vieyra M., Riller U. P., Sato H., Smit J., Tomioka N., Urrutia Fucugauchi J., Whalen M. T., Wittmann A., Xiao L. and Yamaguchi K. E. (2018) Drilling-induced and logging-related features illustrated from IODP-ICDP Expedition 364 downhole logs and borehole imaging tools. Scientific Drilling.

Lowery C. M., Morgan J. V., Gulick S. P. S., Bralower T. J., Christeson G. L., Chenot É., Claeys P. F., Cockell C., Coolen M., Ferrière L., Gebhardt C., Goto K., S. G., Jones H., Kring D. A., Lofi J., Mellett C., Ocampo-Torres R., Perez-Cruz L. L., Pickersgill A., Poelchau M., Rae A., Rasmussen C., Rebolledo-Vieyra M., Riller U. P., Sato H., Smit J., Tikoo S., Tomioka N., Urrutia Fucugauchi J., Whalen M. T., Wittmann A., Xiao L. and Yamaguchi K. E. (2019) Ocean drilling perspectives on meteorite impacts. Oceanography.

Rae A. S. P., Collins G. S., Poelchau M. H., Riller U. P., Davison T. M., Grieve R. A. F., Osinski G. R., Morgan J. V., Gulick S. P. S., Chenot E., Christeson G. L., Claeys P., Cockell C. S., Coolen M. J. L., Ferrière L., Gebhardt C., Goto K., Green S., Jones H., Kring D. A., Lofi J., Lowery C. M., Ocampo-Torres R., Perez-Cruz L., Pickersgill A. E., Rasmussen C., Rebolledo-Vieyra M., Sato H., Smit J., Tikoo S. M., Tomioka N., Urrutia-Fucugauchi J., Whalen M. T., Wittmann A., Xiao L. and Yamaguchi K. (2019) Stress-strain evolution during peak-ring formation: A case study of the Chicxulub impact structure. Journal of Geophysical Research Planets.

Urrutia-Fucugauchi J., Perez-Cruz L., Morgan J., Gulick S., Wittmann A., Lofi J. and IODP-ICDP Science Party (2019) Peering inside the peak ring of the Chicxulub Impact Crater—its nature and formation mechanism. Geology Today.

Filiberto J., Gross J., Udry A., Trela A., Wittmann A., Cannon K. M., Penniston-Dorland S., Ash R. D., Hamilton V. E., Meado A. L., Carpenter P., Jolliff B. and Ferre E. C. (2018) Shergottite Northwest Africa (NWA) 6963: A pyroxene-cumulate Martian gabbro. Journal of Geophysical Research Planets.

Lowery C. M., Bralower T. J., D. O. J., J. R.-T. F., Jones H., Smit J., Whalen M. T., Claeys P. F., K. F., Gulick S. P. S., Morgan J. V., S. G., Chenot É., Christeson G. L., Cockell C. S., Coolen M., Ferrière L., Gebhardt C., Goto K., Kring D. A., Lofi J., Ocampo-Torres R., Perez-Cruz L. L., Pickersgill A., Poelchau M., Rae A., Rasmussen C., Rebolledo-Vieyra M., Riller U. P., Sato H., Tikoo S., Tomioka N., Urrutia Fucugauchi J., J. V., Wittmann A., Xiao L., Yamaguchi K. E. and Zylberman W. (2018) Rapid recovery of life at ground zero of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Nature.

Artemieva, N., Morgan, J. and Expedition 364 Science Party (2017) Quantifying the release of climate-active gases by large meteorite impacts with a case study of Chicxulub. Geophysical Research Letters.

Timms, N. E., Erickson, T. M., Zanetti, M. R., Pearce, M. A., Cayron, C., Cavosie, A. J., Reddy, M. A., Wittmann, A., and Carpenter, P. K. (2017) Cubic zirconia in >2370⁰ impact melt records Earth’s hottest crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Timms N. E., Erickson T. M., Pearce M. A., Cavosie A. J., Schmieder M., Tohver E., Reddy M. A., Zanetti M. R., Nemchin A. A. and Wittmann A. (2017) A pressure-temperature phase diagram for zircon at extreme conditions. Earth-Science Reviews.

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

Wittmann, A., Korotev, R. L., Jolliff, B. L., Irving, A. J., Moser, D., Barker, I., and Rumble III., D. (2015) Petrography and composition of martian regolith breccia meteorite Northwest Africa 7475: Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Wittmann, A. Korotev, R. L., Jolliff, B. L., Lapen, T. J., and Irving, A. J. (2014) The petrogenesis of impact basin melt rocks in lunar meteorite Shişr 161: American Mineralogist.

Wittmann, A., Goderis, S., Claeys, P., Vanhaecke, F., Deutsch, A., and Adolph, L. (2013) Petrology of impactites from El'gygytgyn crater: Breccias in ICDP-drill core 1C, glassy impact melt rocks and spherules: Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Goderis, S., Wittmann, A., Zaiss, J., Elburg, M., Ravizza, G., Vanhaecke, F., Deutsch, A., and Claeys, P., (2013), Testing the ureilite projectile hypothesis for the El’gygytgyn impact: Determination of siderophile element abundances and Os isotope ratios in ICDP drill core samples and melt rocks: Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Schwenzer, S. P., Abramov, O., Allen, C. C., Bridges, J. C., Clifford, S. M., Filiberto, J., Kring, D. A., Lasue, J., McGovern, P. J., Newsom, H. E., Treiman, A. H., Vaniman, D. T., Wiens R. C., and Wittmann, A. (2012) Gale Crater: Formation and post-impact hydrous environments: Planetary and Space Science.

Wittmann, A., Friedrich, J. M., Troiano, T., Macke, R. J., Britt, D. T., Swindle, T. D., Weirich, J. R., Rumble, D. III, Lasue, J., Kring, D. A. (2011) H/L chondrite LaPaz Icefield 031047 – A feather of Icarus ?: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Weirich, J. R., Wittmann, A., Isachsen, C. E., Rumble, D., Swindle, T. D., and Kring, D. A. (2010) The Ar-Ar Age and Petrology of Miller Range 05029: Evidence for a large impact in the very early Solar System: Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Wittmann, A., Swindle, T. D., Cheek, L. C., Frank, E. A., and Kring, D. A. (2010) Impact Cratering on the H-Chondrite Parent Asteroid: Journal of Geophysical Research.

Horton, J. W. J., Gibson, R. L., Reimold, W. U., Wittmann, A., Gohn, G. S., and Edwards, L. E. (2009) Geologic columns for the ICDP-USGS Eyreville B core, Chesapeake Bay impact structure: Impactites and crystalline rocks, 1766 to 1096 m depth: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Kenkmann, T., Collins, G. S., Wittmann, A., Wünnemann, K., Reimold, W. U., and Melosh, H. J. (2009) A model for the formation of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater as revealed by drilling and numerical simulation: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Reimold, W. U., Bartosova, K., Schmitt, R. T., Hansen, B., Crasselt, C., Koeberl, C., Wittmann, A., and Powars, D. S. (2009) Petrographic observations on the Exmore breccia, ICDP-USGS Drilling at Eyreville, Chesapeake Bay impact Structure, USA: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Schmitt, R. T., Bartosova, K., Reimold, W. U., Mader, D., Wittmann, A., Koeberl, C., and Gibson, R. L. (2009) Geochemistry of impactites and crystalline basement-derived lithologies from the ICDP-USGS Eyreville A and B drill cores, Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Virginia/USA, Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Deep Drilling Project: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Wittmann, A., Schmitt, R. T., Hecht, L., Kring, D. A., Reimold, W. U., and Povenmire, H. (2009) Petrology of impact melt rocks from the Chesapeake Bay crater, USA: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Wittmann, A., Reimold, W. U., Schmitt, R. T., Hecht, L., and Kenkmann, T. (2009) The record of ground zero in the Chesapeake Bay impact crater - suevites and related rocks, Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Deep Drilling Project: Geological Society of America Special Paper.

Mayr, S. I., Wittmann, A., Burkhardt, H., Popov, Y., Romushkevich, R., Bayuk, I., Heidinger, P., and Wilhelm, H. (2008) Integrated Interpretation of Physical Properties of Rocks of the Borehole YAXCOPOIL-1 (Chicxulub impact crater): Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth.

Mayr, S. I., Burkhardt, H., Popov, Y., and Wittmann, A. (2008) Estimation of hydraulic permeability considering the micro morphology of rocks of the borehole YAXCOPOIL-1 (Impact crater Chicxulub, Mexico): International Journal of Earth Sciences.

Wittmann A., Kenkmann T., Hecht L., Stöffler D. (2007) Reconstruction of the Chicxulub ejecta plume from its deposits in drill core Yaxcopoil-1. Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Wittmann A., Kenkmann T., Schmitt R. T., Stöffler D. (2006) Shock-metamorphosed zircon in terrestrial impact craters. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Hecht L., Wittmann A., Schmitt R. T., Stöffler D. (2004) Composition of impact melt particles and the effects of post-impact alteration in suevitic rocks at the YAX-1 drill core, Chicxulub crater, Mexico. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Kenkmann T., Wittmann A., Scherler D. (2004) Structure and impact indicators of the Cretaceous Sequence of the ICDP drill core Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Schmitt R. T., Wittmann A., Stöffler D. (2004) Geochemistry of drill core samples from Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Stöffler D., Artemieva N. A., Ivanov B. A., Hecht L., Kenkmann T., Schmitt R. T., Tagle R. A., Wittmann A. (2004) Origin and emplacement of the impact formations at Chicxulub, Mexico, as revealed by the ICDP deep drilling Yaxcopoil-1 and by numerical modeling. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Wittmann A., Kenkmann T., Schmitt R. T., Hecht L., Stöffler D. (2004) Impact related dike breccia lithologies in the ICDP drill core Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico. Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Research Activity: 

Axel Wittmann*, Participation of Inorganic Geochemist in Expedition 364; National Science Foundation (4/2016 - 9/2017).

Axel Wittmann*, Collaborative Research: Chicxulub Impact Effects and the Recovery of Life Using Scientific Drilling Investigations at Ground Zero; National Science Foundation (8/2017 - 7/2019).