[meteorite-list] Tektites

From: Kelly Webb <kelly_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:43:30 2004
Message-ID: <3B4BED74.CFC7BB4E_at_bhil.com>

Hi, List,

    O boy, tektites again!

    Impact is dogma. It requires faith, not reason, for belief.

    First, there is no proposed impact mechanism that can create
tektites from terrestial materials without introducing substantial
contamination from the material of the impacting body. The "argument" or
proof for that statement can be found in my two posts to this List of
March 27 & 27, 2001, but since it takes 3-4 pages, I won't re-quote it
here (check the archives). No such admixture of extraterrestial material
exists in tektites.

    Back in April, a post from the Cambridge Conference Network was
quoted to this List, and a discussion of dating tektites in
archaeological sites ensued. What surprised me was that nobody seemed to
take notice of a much bigger flaw in the impact argument that was
revealed in that post.
    Here's a few quotes from the CCNet 57/2001 - 19 April 2001:
 "The Australasian event must have been much larger than previously
supposed. This leads us back to a very basic question and that is, where
is the 100km crater?"
 "Lee and Wei (2000) used two deep sea cores to derive an age of 793,000
years. They also estimate a crater diameter between 90 and 116km."
 "Glass and Pizzuto (1994) estimated the diameter of the impact crater
to be between 32 and 114 kilometres. They made no assertions about the
impactor's characteristics. If it was a stony asteroid travelling at a
speed of 22km/s then its diameter would be between 2 and 5 km."

    The notion that an impact of this magnitude could have occurred only
800,000 years ago without leaving detectable evidence behind is, well,
ridiculous. So, I drug out my copy of Gehrels' Hazards Due to Comets and
Asteroids and Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons (scaling up) and
started listing the consequences of a 5 kilometer (90 to 110 km. crater)
    A) It would mass in at about 200,000,000,000 tons.
    B) The impact energy would be the equivalent of 10,000,000,000,000
tons of TNT. (Picture a full exchange of all the nuclear weapons of all
the nuclear powers all on one spot all at one time. Multiply by a factor
of 2000. Apply a lot of sunblock.)
    C) The area of total devastation would be roughly large-nation-sized
(like about the size of Mexico).
    D) The energy release would be just at the lower threshhold of a
major mass extinction event.
    E) It would be the biggest impact since the dinosaur-killer itself.
    F) If it missed continental crust and hit the ocean (the favorite
excuse for the absence of a crater), the resulting tsunami would have
had a wave height of roughly 1000 meters! Excuse me, but wouldn't that
pretty much wreck every coastline of every continent and batter inland
for hundreds or thousands of miles everywhere on Earth? (I live 1500
miles from the nearest fresh seafood and I'm not even 150 meters above
sealevel and it's all downhill from here...)
    G) The other characteristic we asked to believe about this supposed
tektite forming event is that it happened very recently and that it left
virtually no mark.

    Gimme a break!

    If tektites were produced by large impacts, there would be a
stochastic distribution of ejecta sizes and ejection velocities, maybe
not Gaussian (ye olde Bell Curve), but some small portion -- 2% to 10%
-- of the tektites would have been ejected at or above escape velocity.
These would end up in near Earth orbits and eventually 50% to 80% of
them would be swept back up by the Earth in 10,000 to 10,000,000 years.
The result would be random distribution of isolated tektites of varying
types all over the Earth with CRE dates up into the millions of years.
Since tektites number in the millions at the very least, there would be
enough objects in this class to have been found this way. (They should
out-number Mars rocks by thousands to one, and they should be falling
all the time.) Again, this situation does not seem to occur. Why not?

    On the other hand, the traditional notion of the tight limited
strewn field for tektites is also suspect. While there are
concentrations of finds, the strewn field has to be defined as the
maximum extent between the most remote examples of a particular tektite
    Alan Hildebrandt found two tektites in Tikal, Guatemala, with
800,000 years B.P. dating. Obviously, they are Australasian tektites.
Equally obviously, they are literally halfway around the planet from the
(presumed) Indochina crater. Therefore the strewn field of the
Australasian tektites covers the entire planet. (Unless you think the
Maya sailed to Australia!)
    Shaw and Wasserberg report in their 1984 paper (which is most often
cited as the best "proof" of the impact theory) the analysis of a N.E.
Australia oceanic tektite having the same composition and age as an
Ivory Coast tektite, increasing the boundary of the Ivory Coast field to
cover the entire planet also.
    Now, if somebody could only find a moldavite in Antarctica...
    Does this mean that the "strewn fields" really cover the whole
planet? Does that argue for a lunar origin? Does it argue for a large
impact origin? Does it mean something else altogether?

    There are plenty of other questions.
    Why should only a few impact events produce tektites, out of all the
impact events of the last 40 million years? Bigger impactors? (No
evidence.) Faster impactors? (No evidence.) Cometary impactors (No
evidence.) One unique surface composition? (Conflicting evidence but
another big coincidence if true.)
    Why are there no detectable characteristics of tektite associated
craters that distinguish them from non-tektite producing craters?
    Why does it take a huge crater like Chesapeake to produce the North
American tektites, when the rather puny Botsumtwi crater blasts tektites
all over the Altantic and apparently all the way to Australia?
    Why are the "big four" tektite producing events associated with
reversals in the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field? (We don't even
know why the field reverses, as far as that goes.) Another

    Actually, an impactor that is already nearly a tektite in
composition, a high silica impactor, answers some of the difficult
questions, but nobody
seems to believe in one, probably due to the complete absence of any
smaller examples of this composition (no silica meteorites that we know
of). But this smacks of an ad hoc approach, creating a hypothetical
unique object to explain an unique unexplained event.

    Conversion of a true mineral (possessing crystals) into a glass
(amorphous liquid) is probably the best way of concealing the original
composition of any natural substance ever devised. God is tricky
sometimes. He probably left lots of clues, but so far, I think we've
overlooked some of them.

Sterling K. Webb
Received on Wed 11 Jul 2001 02:08:53 AM PDT

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