Microtektites from Larkman Nunatak, Antarctica
My paper on microtektites from Larkman Nunatak, Antarctica, got top billing on Imperial College London website!
Microtektites are glassy microscopic impact spherules resulting from the melting of Earth’s crust during an hyper-velocity impact by an asteroid. Quite a violent phenomenon. I remember finding these microtektites in a glacial moraine recovered close to the Larkman Nunatak by my fellow co-author Matthew Genge (Imperial College London). I was looking for cosmic spherules and soon noticed that something was off with some tiny glassy orbs I had picked out, only to realize upon chemical characterization that these were microtektites! I realized the importance of this discovery, as microtektites had already been found in the Transantarctic Moutains by Luigi Folco (my PhD supervisor and forever mentor). He had paired his particles to the Australasian strewnfield that has the particularity of being the largest in world, being rather recent (ca. 0.8 Myr) and having a source crater nowhere to be found! A missing crater producing impactites (rocks derived from an hyper-velocity impact) covering a huge part of our planet, how strange is that! Another revelation of mine was to find out that my microtektites appeared to be related to this same Australasian strewnfield, which grew even bigger as a result of our study. What a small world we live in. Want to know more about this fantastic story? I invite you to read my paper, which is available open access:
Here are some more press release covering this paper: