Friday, December 30, 2016

What Kind of Asteroids Impacted the Earth During the PaleoProterozoic?


Mougel et al


Non-mass dependent chromium isotopic signatures have been successfully used to determine the presence and identification of extra-terrestrial materials in terrestrial impact rocks. Paleoproterozoic spherule layers from Greenland (Graenseso) and Russia (Zaonega), as well as some distal ejecta deposits (Lake Superior region) from the Sudbury impact (1,849 +/- 0.3 Ma) event, have been analyzed for their Cr isotope compositions. Our results suggest that 1) these distal ejecta deposits are all of impact origin, 2) the Graenseso and Zaonega spherule layers contain a distinct carbonaceous chondrite component, and are possibly related to the same impact event, which could be Vredefort (2,023 +/- 4 Ma) or another not yet identified large impact event from that of similar age, and 3) the Sudbury ejecta record a complex meteoritic signature, which is different from the Graenseso and Zaonega spherule layers, and could indicate the impact of a heterogeneous chondritic body.

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