Extraterrestrial dust flux monitoring at Antarctic Vostok station: New collection of extraterrestrial spherules fallen from May to September 2017

Y. O. Chetverikov, V. F. Ezhov, M. S. Glukhov, E. M. Ivankova, A. S. Loshachenko, V. D. Kalganov, O. V. Yakubovich

MAPS, Version of Record online: 25 May 2023


“Dust particles obtained by filtering fresh snow collected from May to September 2017 in the vicinity of Vostok station in Antarctica were examined using a scanning electron microscope. The collection of dust particles contains 197 spherules ranging from 0.5 to 117 μm in diameter, the most abundant ones (n = 188) by far being iron oxide spherules. Analyses of meteorological and human activity data suggest an extraterrestrial origin of most of the spherical particles. The particle size distribution histogram showed a smooth increase in their number with decreasing size and a dramatic drop at sizes smaller than 3 μm. The number of spherical particles has an uneven distribution over time, with an intense peak in July 27–28, 2017 which correlates by dates with the peak of the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower. The size distribution of the particles collected during the same period indicates the presence of a mechanism that accelerates their fall to the Earth. We propose that they are effective centers of condensation of ice crystals in stratospheric clouds. Our data indicate that collection of micrometeorites with sizes of several microns from the fresh snow is possible, opening a new way for sampling micrometeorites, including separate meteor showers.”