• A laboratory model of splash-form tektites

      Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Aussillous, P.; Bico, J.; Quéré, D.; Bush, J. W. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      Splash-form tektites are generally acknowledged to have the form of bodies of revolution. However, no detailed fluid dynamical investigation of their form and stability has yet been undertaken. Here, we review the dynamics and stability of spinning, translating fluid drops with a view to making inferences concerning the dynamic history of tektites. We conclude that, unless the differential speed between the molten tektite and ambient is substantially less than the terminal velocity, molten tektites can exist as equilibrium bodies of revolution only up to sizes of 3 mm. Larger tektites are necessarily non-equilibrium forms and so indicate the importance of cooling and solidification during flight. An examination of the shapes of rotating, translating drops indicates that rotating silicate drops in air will assume the shapes of bodies of rotation if their rotational speed is 1% or more of their translational speed. This requirement of only a very small rotational component explains why most splash-form tektites correspond to bodies of revolution. A laboratory model that consists of rolling or tumbling molten metallic drops reproduces all of the known forms of splash- form tektites, including spheres, oblate ellipsoids, dumbbells, teardrops, and tori. The laboratory also highlights important differences between rolling drops and tumbling drops in flight. For example, toroidal drops are much more stable in the former than in the latter situation.
    • Impact microcrater morphology on Australasian microtektites

      Prasad, M. S.; Khedekar, V. D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      Scanning electron microscopy of 137 Australasian microtektites and fragments from 4 sediment cores in the Central Indian Ocean reveals more than 2000 impact-generated features in the size range of 0.3 to 600 micrometers. Three distinct impact types are recognized: destructive, erosive, and accretionery. A large variation in impact energy is seen in terms of catastrophic destruction demonstrated by fragmented microtektites through erosive impacts comprising glass-lined pit craters, stylus pit craters, pitless craters, and a small number of accretionery features as well. The size range of observed microtektites is from 180 to 2320 micrometers, and not only are the smaller microtektites seen to have the largest number of impacts, but most of these impacts are also of the erosive category, indicating that target temperature is an important factor for retaining impact-generated features. Further, microcratering due to collisions in impact-generated plumes seems to exist on a larger and more violent scale than previously known. Although the microcraters are produced in a terrestrially generated impact plume, they resemble lunar microcraters in many ways: 1) the size range of impacts and crater morphology variation with increasing size; 2) dominant crater number densities in micrometer and sub-micrometer sizes. Therefore, tektite-producing impacts can lead to the generation of microcraters that mimic those found on lunar surface materials, and for the lunar rocks to qualify as reliable cosmic dust flux detectors, their tumbling histories and lunar surface orientations have to be known precisely.
    • Two layers of Australasian impact ejecta in the Indian Ocean?

      Prasad, M. S.; Gupta, S. M.; Kodagali, V. N. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      Only 2 Australasian tektites have been found in the Indian Ocean, and both are associated with surficial sediments. We collected cores from both locations where the tektites have been reported. The microtektites in these cores (and both the tektites, as reported earlier) have chemical compositions within the compositional range previously reported for Australasian tektites and microtektites. In both locations, while the tektites are occurring at the sediment/water interface, the microtektites are found buried in older horizons beneath the seafloor at stratigraphic levels, conforming to the radiometric age of the strewn field. Thus, at first glance, there appear to be 2 layers of Australasian impact ejecta in the Indian Ocean. However, the manganese nodules are associated with the tektites which, although millions of years old, are invariably resting on recent sediments. Therefore, the mechanism that retains nodules at the seafloor also seems to be operative on the tektites, thus leading to this apparent "age paradox" of tektite/microtektite distribution in the Indian Ocean, although they both belong to the same impact event.
    • Characterization and significance of shocked quartz from the Woodleigh impact structure, Western Australia

      Hough, R. M.; Lee, M. R.; Bevan, A. W. R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      We re-examined the buried Woodleigh structure in Western Australia, which has been inferred to be a multi-ringed, 120 km diameter impact crater, because the proposed size and possible synchronicity with one of the pre-Mesozoic mass extinction events has attracted controversy. We undertook a detailed study of the petrology and mineralogy of a number of samples of core from the Woodleigh-1 borehole that was drilled into the central uplift of the structure. Crystalline Proterozoic basement rocks comprising granites and gneisses in the Woodleigh-1 core contain minor brecciation in discrete veins and reveal clear evidence of shock metamorphism over the full extent of the core. Imaging of laboratory-etched quartz showed that a large number of grains contain shock deformation lamellae. Microstructural and crystallographic analysis of these lamellae by TEM showed that they are planar deformation features (PDFs) that have subsequently undergone annealing and water assisted recrystallization. The available geological, petrographic, and mineralogical evidence suggest that Woodleigh is an eroded impact crater that is nearer to 60 km than 120 km in diameter. Future drilling projects should better constrain the level of erosion, and may reveal any preserved impact lithologies.
    • Ice dynamics of the Allan Hills meteorite concentration sites revealed by satellite aperture radar interferometry

      Coren, F.; Delisle, G.; Sterzai, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      The ice flow conditions of a 100 x 100 km area of Victoria Land, Antarctica were analyzed with the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technique. The area includes a number of meteorite concentration sites, in particular the Allan Hills ice fields. Regional ice flow velocities around the Mid- western and Near-western ice fields and the Allan Hills main ice field are shown to be less than or equal to 2.5 m yr-1. These sites are located on a horseshoe-shaped area that bounds an area characterized by higher ice flow velocities of up to 5 m yr-1. Meteorite find locations on the Elephant Moraine are located in this "high ice flow" area. The SAR derived digital elevation model (DEM) shows atypical low surface slopes for Antarctic conditions, which are the cause for the slow ice movements. Numerous ice rises in the area are interpreted to cap sub-ice obstacles, which were formed by tectonic processes in the past. The ice rises are considered to represent temporary features, which develop only during warm stages when the regional ice stand is lowered. Ice depressions, which develop in warm stages on the lee side of ice rises, may act as the sites of temporary build-up of meteorite concentrations, which turn inoperative during cold stages when the regional ice level rises and the ice rises disappear. Based on a simplified ice flow model, we argue that the regional ice flow in cold stages is reduced by a factor of at least 3.
    • Microdistribution of primordial Ne and Ar in fine-grained rims, matrices, and dark inclusions of unequilibrated chondrites--Clues on nebular processes

      Vogel, N.; Wieler, R.; Bischoff, A.; Baur, H. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      The low temperature fine-grained material in unequilibrated chondrites, which occurs as matrix, rims, and dark inclusions, carries information about the solar nebula and the earliest stages of planetesimal accretion. The microdistribution of primordial noble gases among these components helps to reveal their accretionary and alteration histories. We measured the Ne and Ar isotopic ratios and concentrations of small samples of matrix, rims, and dark inclusions from the unequilibrated carbonaceous chondrites Allende (CV3), Leoville (CV3), and Renazzo (CR2) and from the ordinary chondrites Semarkona (LL3.0), Bishunpur (LL3.1), and Krymka (LL3.1) to decipher their genetic relationships. The primordial noble gas concentrations of Semarkona, and--with certain restrictions--also of Leoville, Bishunpur, and Allende decrease from rims to matrices. This indicates a progressive accretion of nebular dust from regions with decreasing noble gas contents and cannot be explained by a formation of the rims on parent bodies. The decrease is probably due to dilution of the noble-gas-carrying phases with noble-gas-poor material in the nebula. Krymka and Renazzo both show an increase of primordial noble gas concentrations from rims to matrices. In the case of Krymka, this indicates the admixture of noble gas-rich dust to the nebular region from which first rims and then matrix accreted. This also explains the increase of the primordial elemental ratio 36Ar/ 20Ne from rims to matrix. Larger clasts of the noble-gas-rich dust form macroscopic dark inclusions in this meteorite, which seem to represent unusually pristine material. The interpretation of the Renazzo data is ambiguous. Rims could have formed by aqueous alteration of matrix or--as in the case of Krymka--by progressive admixture of noble gas-rich dust to the reservoir from which the Renazzo constituents accreted. The Leoville and Krymka dark inclusions, as well as one dark inclusion of Allende, show noble gas signatures different from those of the respective host meteorites. The Allende dark inclusion probably accreted from the same region as Allende rims and matrix but suffered a higher degree of alteration. The Leoville and Krymka dark inclusions must have accreted from regions different from those of their respective rims and matrices and were later incorporated into their host meteorites. The noble gas data imply a heterogeneous reservoir with respect to its primordial noble gas content in the accretion region of the studied meteorites. Further studies will have to decide whether these differences are primary or evolved from an originally uniform reservoir.
    • Hydrogen concentrations on C-class asteroids derived from remote sensing

      Rivkin, A. S.; Davies, J. K.; Johnson, J. R.; Ellison, S. L.; Trilling, D. E.; Brown, R. H.; Lebofsky, L. A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      We present spectroscopic observations of 16 asteroids from 1.9-3.6 micrometers collected from the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) from 1996-2000. Of these 16 asteroids, 11 show some evidence of a 3 micrometer hydrated mineral absorption feature greater than 2-sigma at 2.9 micrometers. Using relations first recognized for carbonaceous chondrite powders by Miyamoto and Zolensky (1994) and Sato et al. (1997), we have determined the hydrogen to silicon ratio for these asteroids and calculated their equivalent water contents, assuming all the hydrogen was in water. The asteroids split into 2 groups, roughly defined as equivalent water contents greater than ~7% (8 asteroids, all with 3 micrometer band depths greater than ~20%) and less than ~3% for the remaining 8 asteroids. This latter group includes some asteroids for which a weak but statistically significant 3 micrometers band of non-zero depth exists. The G-class asteroids in the survey have higher water contents, consistent with CM chondrites. This strengthens the connection between CM chondrites and G asteroids that was proposed by Burbine (1998). We find that the 0.7 micrometer and 3 micrometer band depths are correlated for the population of target objects.
    • Book Review: A Traveler's Guide to Mars, William K. Hartmann

      Baier, A. P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
    • The suevite of drill hole Yucatàn 6 in the Chicxulub impact crater

      Claeys, P.; Heuschkel, S.; Lounejeva-Baturina, E.; Sanchez-Rubio, G.; Stöffler, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2003-01-01)
      The suevite breccia of the Chicxulub impact crater, Yucatán, Mexico, is more variable and complex in terms of composition and stratigraphy than suevites observed at other craters. Detailed studies (microscope, electron microprobe, SEM, XRF) have been carried out on a noncontinuous set of samples from the drill hole Yucatán 6 (Y6) located 50 km SW from the center of the impact structure. Three subunits can be distinguished in the suevite: the upper unit is a fine-grained carbonate-rich suevite breccia with few shocked basement clasts, mostly altered melt fragments, and formerly melted carbonate material; the middle suevite is a coarse-grained suevite with shocked basement clasts and altered silicate melt fragments; the lower suevite unit is composed of shocked basement and melt fragments and large evaporite clasts. The matrix of the suevite is not clastic but recrystallized and composed mainly of feldspar and pyroxene. The composition of the upper members of the suevite is dominated by the sedimentary cover of the Yucatán target rock. With depth in well Y6, the amount of carbonate decreases and the proportion of evaporite and silicate basement rocks increases significantly. Even at the thin section scale, melt phases of different chemistry can be identified, showing that no widespread homogenization of the melt took place. The melt compositions also reflect the heterogeneity of the deep Yucatán basement. Calcite with characteristic feathery texture indicates the existence of formerly pure carbonate melt. The proportion of carbonate to evaporite clasts is less than 5:1, except in the lower suevite where large evaporite clasts are present. This proportion constrains the amount of CO2 and SOX released by the impact event.