3D X-ray tomographic analysis reveals how coesite is preserved in Muong Nong-type tektitesOPEN ACCESS 

Matteo Masotta, Stefano Peres, Luigi Folco, Lucia Mancini, Pierre Rochette, Billy P. Glass, Fabrizio Campanale, Nicolas Gueninchault, Francesco Radica, Sounthone Singsoupho & Enrique Navarro

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 20608 (2020)


“Muong Nong-type (MN) tektites are a layered type of tektite associated to the Australasian strewn field, the youngest (790 kyr) and largest on Earth. In some MN tektites, coesite is observed in association with relict quartz and silica glass within inclusions surrounded by a froth layer. The formation of coesite-bearing frothy inclusions is here investigated through a 3D textural multiscale analysis of the vesicles contained in a MN tektite sample, combined with compositional and spectroscopic data. The vesicle size distribution testifies to a post-shock decompression that induced melting and extensive vesiculation in the tektite melt. Compared to free vesicles, nucleated homogeneously in the tektite melt, froth vesicles nucleated heterogeneously on relict quartz surfaces at the margins of coesite-bearing inclusions. The rapid detachment of the froth vesicles and prompt reactivation of the nucleation site favoured the packing of vesicles and the formation of the froth structure. Vesicle relaxation time scales suggest that the vesiculation process lasted few seconds. The formation of the froth layer was instrumental for the preservation of coesite, promoting quenching of the inclusion core through the subtraction of heat during froth expansion, thereby physically insulating the inclusion until the final quench of the tektite melt.”