P11B-1811: Healdsburgite - a New Tektite and Associated Tektite Strewnfield in North Central California

« Return to search results · New Search

Authors: Rolfe C Erickson1, Alan L Deino2, Stephen A Norwick1, Caitlin Byrd1

Author Institutions: 1. Geology Dept, Sonoma State Univ, Rohnert Park, CA, USA; 2. Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkely, CA, USA

Erickson, Rolfe; Norwick, Steven; and Byrd, Caitlin, Sonoma State University; Deino, Alan, Berkeley Geochronology Center. I A Distinctive Glass Clast Population In numerous locations in Sonoma and Solano Counties in north central California, over an area of ~ 200 km2, distinctive ~ 1-5 cm dominantly ovoid glass clasts are found as part of the pebble population in young sediments. They are composed of black massive aphyric nonvesicular glass whose surfaces are totally covered with a texture of adjoining small deep pits and grooves. The pits are hemispherical, 1-10 mm across, and join at sharp edges composed of straight segments. The grooves, where present, are the width and depth of the pits and may be up to several cm long and vermicular. Some clasts have internal layering resembling flow textures. These glass objects were brought to our attention by a local resident, Ms. Diane Moore, about 20 years ago. Four of these glass clasts from widely separated locations in the exposure area have been dated by the laser incremental-heating Ar39/Ar40 method at the Berkeley Geochronology Center, with an age of ~ 2.81 Ma (upper Pliocene). The four samples have mutually overlapping ages at one sigma. Chemical analyses of the 10 major and 50 minor elements, of four widely separated clasts, were obtained at commercial laboratories. The clasts are all rhyolites and cluster tightly on the TAS diagram of Le Maitre et al (2002). All available data show that all these pitted and grooved clasts are part of a single population. II. The Clasts are Tektites We believe these distinctive glass clasts to be tektites for the following reasons: 1. Pits are always present and wholly cover the clast surface. Perhaps half the clasts also have distinctive irregular vermicular grooves superimposed on the pitted surface. This surface pattern is like those on other long-recognized ‘classic’ tektites, like indochinites. The clasts look like tektites; compare McCall (2001, Figure 2.30) for example. 2. The clasts show no significant weathering. Once cleaned of adhering sediment, they are solid and vitreous. There are also no cases of partial development of the distinctive surface texture, as might be expected if it were a consequence of in situ weathering. 3. The clasts do not have a detrital origin; they are not obsidian pebbles. The pit and groove pattern, which is uniformly well developed on clasts throughout the distribution area, is fragile and could not have survived much transport. 4. The clasts are not volcanic in origin (i.e., ‘apache tears’). The pit and groove pattern contrasts with the relatively smooth surface of apache tears, and the clasts bear no resemblance to lapilli. Their distinctive appearance and uniform age and chemistry suggests that these objects are tektites in a strewnfield, only a small part of which has been identified to date. No related impact site has been identified, but clast composition suggests a continental target. We suggest these clasts, heretofore informally called Healdsburg glass, be recognized as tektites and called healdsburgites, in the manner of other tektites. A public domain PDF format copy of this poster will be available for download in the digital archive in the Sonoma State University library.

Leave a Comment

Name and email are required. In the name field, please enter your first name and last initial.