[meteorite-list] backwardsevolution2

From: Darryl S. Futrell <futrelds_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:24 2004
Message-ID: <026101c0dc93$79c48780$d14d173f_at_pavilion>

PART 2 (includes some references)

1. The number of "impact" geochemists has grown by leaps and bounds as more
and more terrestrial impact craters are discovered. As a result, more and
more of them have become reviewers for the relevant journals. Therefore,
for some time now, they have been able to exert more and more influence over
which tektite papers should be accepted for publication. My experience in
this regard was when C. Koeberl ended up casting the deciding rejection of
my paper for two different journals. By then, almost two years had passed,
and I was wondering if there was any journal who wouldn’t send it to
Koeberl. Subsequently, I found that there was a major journal in communist
East Germany that used ‘in house’ reviewers. My paper was eventually
accepted and published in Chem. Erde in 1991. Another possibility might
have been a journal in China, but there I was told I would need a Chinese
2. Researchers interested in doing tektite research at universities and
other institutions must often try to obtain funding or grants. If funding
is somehow obtained for research that results in a paper that does end up
favoring a lunar origin, there then remains the task of finding a journal
editor who is willing to search for reviewers who would be willing to
consider such a paper. This is because the majority now feel that the
origin of tektite glass has already been decided, and that no further
discussion is needed. If the paper does survive and is accepted and
published, the author must be willing to face possible ridicule and scorn
from those of the majority opinion, including some in positions of much
influence. For example, J. A. O’Keefe was severely criticized in 1971 by
Nobel Laureate Harold Urey (Science 171, pgs. 312-313) for his papers
claiming that tektites are lunar. Another example is Elbert King’s 1977
review of O’Keefe’s 1976 tektite book (Geochim. Et Cosmochim Acta 41, pg.
841). King strongly ridicules O’Keefe, and, in a sense, dares anyone to
come forward and support O’Keefe’s views. I considered doing this, but knew
King was already aware of my work. Since I am not employed by any
university or other institution, and have never been dependent on tektite
research for my livelihood, I have been able to continue my study of tektite
origin without any concern of criticism. In that vein, however, I did make
it a point to dispose of my original large tektite collection before making
any efforts to have published my lengthy tektite origin article (1999 Rock
and Gem). If I did work for some institution, they would have supplied me
with tektites for study. However, as a private researcher, I’ve always had
to collect the tektites myself, be it by exchange, purchase, or finding them
in person.
3. It has apparently become the custom at schools of higher learning to
instruct new students of meteoritics to ignore the analytical data produced
prior to a few decades ago, the reason supposedly being that the newer
analytical equipmwnr ia more accurate. This pretty well eliminates any
study or mention of much of the evidence supporting a lunar origin, since
the majority of this work was published prior to a few decades ago. How
many students would want to waste time looking up this earlier work, when
they know that any mention of it in their examinations or dissertations
might result in chastisement or possibly even a lower grade? And, for what
purpose, except possibly for the determination of trace elements and/or
isotopes, is the newer equipment really that much more accurate? For
example, in 1992, C. Koeberl found the major element compositional data of
silica-rich layered tektites performed by Chapman and Scheiber back in 1969
(which happen to be a portion of a large number of analyses that indicated
an extraterrestrial igneous origin for tektite glass) to be in good
agreement with is new data obtained on the most modern equipment.

 A very unscientific result of ignoring the earlier tektite research is that
many of the present generation of "impact" geochemists and others working on
tektites appear to have little concept of the several varieties of tektite
glass types and structures that exist, nor of the numerous arguments that
preclude an impact melt origin. There are numerous examples of this.
Consider, for example, the following quote from an abstract by four
researchers that was presented in 1995 at the 26th L.P.S.C. held in Houston:
"Tektites are naturally occurring aerodynamically-shaped silicate glasses…."
These four had worked on one indochinite teardrop and apparently considered
its teardrop shape to be the result of aerodynamic shaping!
 If they had read the still valid tektite papers written prior to a few
decades ago by those convinced of a lunar origin, they would have found that
this teardrop shape is a typical splashform shape formed in the vacuum of
space, and has nothing to do with any aerodynamic (ablation) shaping, that
less than one percent of the worldwide tektite population show any effects
of aerodynamic shaping, and that all splashform tektites entered our
atmosphere as cool rigid bodies.
 And, what about the many tons of layered tektites that in some areas of the
Australasian tektite strewnfield are the only type of tektite found, and in
some other areas outweigh the total weight of the splashform tektites from
these same areas? Not even mentioned, as though they don’t even exist!
 Three of this same group made another attempt to tell others what tektites
are in 1997 at the 28th L.P.S.C. This time they said that "Tektites are
shocked natural glasses…." This time they did mention that there are
several forms, mentioning layered, splashforms, and aerodynamically-shaped
flanges. They were incorrect, however, when they claimed tektites are
"shocked" glasses.
 No doubt, when they said "shocked" they were thinking about the sub-mm
coesite grains that have been found in some layered tektites. But, layered
tektites have been shown by several other researchers to consist of welded
accretions of microtektites with sparse scatterings of sub-mm mineral
grains, including coesite, found in some specimens of higher silica content.
This means that all of these mineral grains have also accreted, or fell,
with the hot microtektites, onto some planetary surface, to form the
original sheets of layered glass. This, in turn, means that all of these
grains were pre-existing, and blew or fell in from some other source. Being
pre-existing, these coesite grains could be thousands or even millions of
years older than the freshly formed microtektites. This would be possible
in a lunar pyroclastic event where such grains could have been blown off the
walls of the vent, to be deposited, with the microtektites that formed from
the boiling magma, onto the surrounding surface. Evidence for such a
scenario can be found in my AGU Fall Meeting abstract published in the
supplement to EOS, 73, #43, Oct. 27, 1992 on pg. 328.
 The point is, there are no tektites that are "shocked natural glasses"!
These researchers were just as erroneous, in their second attempt to explain
what tektites are, as they were in their first!
 Most of the researchers who insist tektite glass is an impact melt product
like to state that the lunar volcanic theory is extinct. A recent example
of this can be found in 1996 in vol. 31 of Meteoritics on pg. five. Here,
S. R. Taylor was apparently concerned about the discovery, reported in that
same issue, of, what in reality can only be hypervelocity micrometeorite
impact pits that were found on an Indian Ocean microtektite. This one
example grew later that year to a total of sixty! He states "…hopefully
this new observation will not encourage a Lazarus-like reappearance of the
lunar origin hypothesis." In my opinion, I see this as an attempt to remind
other researchers that anyone daring to challenge the terrestrial impact
melt theory will have him to deal with.

Darryl Futrell
Received on Mon 14 May 2001 12:32:31 PM PDT

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