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CitationHumayun, M., & Koeberl, C. (2004). Potassium isotopic composition of Australasian tektites. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 39(9), 1509-1516.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractWe have analyzed the potassium isotopic composition of four tektites from the Australasian strewn field, spanning a wide diversity of thermal histories, inferred from textures and volatile element contents. Our results indicate no isotopic differences between tektites and terrestrial crustal rocks, placing stringent limits of less than or equal to 2% loss of potassium during the brief duration of high temperature heating experienced by these samples. This confirms that the chemical composition of tektites is entirely a reflection of source rock composition and has not been modified by the tektiteforming process for elements less volatile than potassium. Losses of more volatile components, e.g., the halogens and water, are not precluded by the present data. Coupling a radiative cooling temperature-time path with potassium vapor pressure data indicates that tektite melt drops are not likely to develop bulk elemental fractionation during the brief heating episodes of tektites for peak temperatures <2273 K. The extent of K isotopic fractionation is independent of droplet size but dependent on peak heating temperature. The exact peak temperature depends on the choice of vapor pressure data used for K, which need to be better constrained.