Magnetic microspherules associated with the K/T and upper Eocene extinction events
- Cisowski, Stanley M.
- JAN 1, 1988.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Magnetic microspherules were identified in over 20 K/T boundary sites, and in numerous Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) cores from the Caribbean and Pacific, synchronous with the extinction of several radiolarian species near the end of the Eocene. The K/T magnetic spherules are of particular interest as carriers of Ir and other siderophiles generally found in abundance in K/T boundary clay. Furthermore the textures and unusual chemistry of their component magnetic phases indicate an origin at high temperature, possibly related to (an) unusual event(s) marking the end of the Cretaceous and Eocene periods. Their origin, along with the non-magnetic (sanidine) spheules, is generally ascribed directly to megaimpact events hypothesized to have periodically disrupted life on Earth. A survey of microspherical forms associated with known meteorite and impact derived materials reveals fundamental differences from the extinction related spherules. Low temperature magnetic experiments on the K/T and Upper Eocene spheroids indicate that, unlike tektites, extremely small superparamagnetic carriers are not present in abundance. The extensive subaerial exposure of Cretaceous combustible black shale during sea level regression in the latest Cretaceous represents a potential source for the magnetic spheroids found in certain K/T boundary clays. The recent discovery of high Ir abundances distributed above and below the K/T boundary within shallow water sediments in Israel, which also contain the most extensive known zones of combustion metamorphism, the so called Mottled Zone, adds a further dramatic footnote to the proposed association between the magnetic spheroids and combustion of organic shales. Interestingly, the Mottled Zone also contains the rare mineral magnesioferrite, which was identified both within the K/T magnetic spheroids and as discrete crystals in boundary clay from marine and continental sites.
- Document ID: 19890011932.
Accession ID: 89N21303.
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Global Catastrophes in Earth History: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Impacts, Volcanism, and Mass Mortality; p 28-29.
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