The quest for an extraterrestrial component in Muong Nong-type and splash-form Australasian tektites from Laos using highly siderophile elements and Re-Os isotope systematics

aLukáš Ackermana, RomanSkálaa, ŠárkaKřížováa,b, KarelŽáka, TomášMagnac
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.03.009]
aInstitute of Geology, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Rozvojová 269, CZ-165 00 Prague 6 – Lysolaje, Czech Republic
bInstitute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, CZ-128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic
cCzech Geological Survey, Klárov 3, CZ-118 21 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Copyright Elsevier

Extremely low and variable concentrations of osmium (Os) and other highly siderophile elements (HSE) in most tektites make it challenging to establish direct links between these impact-related materials and their possible extraterrestrial contribution. New Os concentrations (2–43 ppt) and 187Os/188Os ratios (0.131–0.68) in a suite of fifteen well-characterized Australasian tektites from Laos (Muong Nong and splash-form types) with variable Ni enrichment indicate a maximum of ∼0.005% addition of a chondritic impactor. This is similar to some Australasian tektites from Vietnam with similarly low siderophile contents, but significantly lower than found in previous studies of more Ni-rich Australasian splash-form tektites and microtektites from different parts of the Australasian strewn field (e.g., Indonesia, South China Sea). The contents of HSE and Re–Os isotopic compositions of layered Muong Nong-type Australasian tektites are highly variable, suggesting mingling of crustal-derived (siderophile element-poor) and extraterrestrial (siderophile element-rich) materials. The absence of a direct correlation between HSE and Ni contents is interpreted to result from a fractionation process related to their different vaporization/condensation temperatures. The low Os abundance in most analyzed Australasian tektites, combined with non-radiogenic 187Os/188Os far below average upper continental crust, may provide a direct test to distinguish continental versus seawater impact scenario. In the absence of any specific low-Os target, a particular process of Os loss following impact is required. We envisage a scenario where evaporative loss of >>90% Os in the form of Os oxides from the overheated tektite melt is aided by volatile species derived from dissociated seawater and/or saline pore water embedded in sediments off-shore Indochina, consistent with elevated contents of halogens in Australasian tektites. This water-assisted Os loss could also play significant role for Central European tektites, while the continental surface with limited amount of water would prevent from more efficient HSE loss as could be the case for Ivory Coast tektites.

 

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