Proximal ejecta of the Bolaven extraterrestrial impact, southern LaosOPEN ACCESS 

Kerry Sieh, Dayana Schonwalder Angel, Jason Herrin, Brian Jicha, Brad Singer, Vanpheng Sihavong, Weerachat Wiwegwin, Nathanael Wong, and Jia Yong Quah

PNAS, received June 19, 2023; accepted October 24, 2023
December 4, 2023, 120 (50)


“Sediments in southern Laos and eastern Thailand confirm that the Australasian tektite strewn field came from an extraterrestrial impact crater on the Bolaven Plateau of southern Laos. The principal evidence is the Bolaven diamicton, a pebbly to bouldery breccia that is thickest and coarsest on the plateau. Tektites, the melted target material strewn widely by the forces of the impact 789.0 ± 1.8 ka ago, lie either within the uppermost part of the diamicton or atop it. On the flanks of the plateau, the basal diamicton often contains clasts from preimpact lavas and gravels and sometimes mantles broken Mesozoic bedrock. Locally, its upper portions contain unweathered boulders of basalt or sandstone. Its sharp upper contact with a thick sandy silt implies that the two beds formed in rapid succession. These characteristics of the Bolaven diamicton show that it resulted primarily from the excavation, comminution, and launch of sandstone and weathered basaltic lavas from a crater on the Bolaven Plateau, and entrained other materials while in transit.”