[SDDP] SDDP - Sudbury Deep Drilling Project

Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2003

Expedition ID: 5031

Current Status: completed

deep biosphere
igneous petrology
impact structure
meteorite impact
natural resources
Master Data

Prof. Dr. Joerg Erzinger (PI)
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Riller (PI)
Prof. Dr. Dieter Stöffler (PI)

Jochem Kück (OSG)
Ronald Conze (OSG)
Dr. Ute Frank (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Rolf Emmermann (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Alexander Deutsch (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Lutz Hecht (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Klaus Bauer (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Helga de Wall (Scientific Participant)

Geologisches Alter: paleoproterozoic

Latitude: 46°30'12''N

North America

Regionen & Städte:


Longitude: 80°58'6''W



hard rock

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth:
Core Yield:
Core Length:
Amount of Drill Holes:
Amount of Drill Locations:

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio:


The Sudbury structure is the largest and best-exposed remnant of a large meteorite impact structure on Earth. It hosts one of the world's largest concentrations of magmatic Ni-Cu-Pt-Pd-Au mineralization and has produced more than $100 billion worth of metal in over a century of production. It is also a unique example of a very large differentiated igneous body with remarkably simple boundary conditions. As such, it is the premier locality on Earth to study processes related to impact and planetary accretion, as well as a wide range of magmatic processes including the generation of large magmatic sulfide deposits. We propose to conduct a comprehensive program of research into the genesis and evolution of the Sudbury structure centered on a scientific drilling program. Large, formerly confidential, geological and geophysical databases belonging to industrial sponsors will be combined with the results of a concurrent program of mapping and research (structural, geochronological and petrological) to provide a synthesis of regional geology and scientific drilling of unprecedented scope. The use of newly developed 3-D database software and an immersive 3-D visualization room will contribute a unique depth to this compilation. We propose to hold an international workshop at Sudbury in late September or early October 2003 to review current geological, geophysical and geotechnical studies and results from existing exploration drilling efforts to formulate a full proposal to ICDP. This workshop will involve about 50 research groups who have contributed to the studies of Sudbury or want to participate. One to three deep boreholes will be drilled to depths of about 6 km using currently available slim-hole wireline drilling technology, with continuous core recovery. Initial down-hole geophysical probes will be replaced by a long-term semi-permanent down-hole laboratory including equipment for seismic surveys, fluid and gas sampling, and monitoring of possible deep crustal biological activity. The number and location of holes will depend on detailed objectives to be finalized after the international workshop in 2003 and after pre-site selection geophysical surveys. A full proposal will be submitted to ICDP in January 2004. The proposed project will advance knowledge of several fields of research with global scientific and economic significance at a cost between $10 M and $15 M. At the same time, the practical knowledge gained of this important ore-hosting structure may provide a great economic boon to the geological community and the people of Ontario.

Related Publications

Göllner, Paul L., Wüstemann, Torben, Bendschneider, Lisa, Reimers, Sebastian, Clark, Martin D., Gibson, Lisa, Lightfoot, Peter C., Riller, Ulrich (2019). "Thermo-mechanical interaction of a large impact melt sheet with adjacent target rock, Sudbury impact structure, Canada" Meteoritics & Planetary Science online p1-18

Dreuse, René, Doman, Daniel, Santimano, Tasca, Riller, Ulrich (2010). "Crater floor topography and impact melt sheet geometry of the Sudbury impact structure, Canada" Terra Nova 22 p463-469

Adriasola, Alberto C, Riller, Ulrich (2010). "Emplacement of sulfide-rich quartz-diorite melts in the Whistle-Parkin Dike of the Sudbury Igneous Complex, Canada" Zeitschrift für angewandte Geologie Band 51, Heft 2 p40-50

Riller, Ulrich, Lieger, Daniel, Gibson, Roger L, Grieve, Richard AF, Stöffler, Dieter (2010). "Origin of large-volume pseudotachylite in terrestrial impact structures" Geology 38 p619-622

Riller, U. (2009). "Felsic Plutons (Chapter 3)" A Field Guide to the Geology of Sudbury, Ontario Open File Report 6243 p14-30

Hecht, L., Wittek, A., Riller, U., Mohr, T., Schmitt, R. T., Grieve, R. A. F. (2008). "Differentiation and emplacement of the Worthington Offset Dike of the Sudbury impact structure, Ontario" Meteoritics & Planetary Science 43, Nr. 10 p1659-1679

Grieve, Richard A. F., Reimold, W. Uwe, Morgan, Joanna, Riller, Ulrich, Pilkington, Mark (2008). "Observations and interpretations at Vredefort, Sudbury, and Chicxulub: Towards an empirical model of terrestrial impact basin formation" Meteoritics & Planetary Science 43 (5) p855-882

Klimczak, Christian, Wittek, Andrea, Doman, Daniel, Riller, Ulrich (2007). "Fold origin of the NE-lobe of the Sudbury Basin, Canada: Evidence from heterogeneous fabric development in the Onaping Formation and the Sudbury Igneous Complex" Journal of Structural Geology 29 p1744-1756

Riller, Ulrich (2005). "Structural characteristics of the Sudbury impact structure, Canada: Impact-induced versus orogenic deformation—A review" Meteoritics & Planetary Science 40 p1723-1740

Schwerdtner, W.M., Riller, U.P., Borowik, A. (2005). "Structural testing of tectonic hypotheses by field-based analysis of distributed tangential shear: examples from major high-strain zones in the Grenville Province and other parts of the southern Canadian Shield" Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 42 p1927-1947

Milkereit, B, Green, A, Wu, J, White, D, Adam, E (1994). "Integrated seismic and borehole geophysical study of the Sudbury Igneous Complex" Geophysical Research Letters 21 (10) p931-934