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Impact-crater ages and micrometeorite paleofluxes compared: Evidence for the importance of ordinary chondrites in the flux of meteorites and asteroids to Earth over the past 500 million years

Publication Date Jun 21, 2022

Abstract

ABSTRACT Although the ~200 impact craters known on Earth represent only a small fraction of the craters originally formed, the available data suggest an excess of craters by one order of magnitude, in number, in the interval ca. 470–440 Ma during the Ordovician. Most of these “excess” craters may be related to the breakup of the L-chondrite parent body (LCPB) in the asteroid belt at 465.8 ± 0.3 Ma. This is the only obvious peak in the crater-age record that can currently be attributed to an asteroid breakup and shower event. Spatial crater densities in regions with high potential for crater preservation (e.g., Canada and Scandinavia) support a one order-of-magnitude increase in the flux of large (>0.1 km) impactors following the LCPB breakup. A similar pattern as seen in the cratering record is emerging in studies of the flux of micrometeoritic chrome spinel through the Phanerozoic, with so far only one major spike in the flux, and associated with the LCPB breakup. Similarly, the record of K-Ar and (U-Th)/He gas retention ages of recently fallen meteorites only locates one major breakup, the LCPB event, during the Phanerozoic. On the other hand, astronomical backtracking studies of the orbits of asteroid family members indicate ~70 major family-forming breakups within the past ~540 m.y., which apparently have not left any clear imprint in Earth’s geological record. The chrome-spinel grains recovered in our studies dominantly represent large micrometeorites (>300 µm) and as such are also represent...

Concepts

Flux Of Meteorites L-chondrite Parent Body Major Breakup Chrome Spinel Chrome-spinel Grains Ordinary Chondrites Increase In Flux Flux Of Micrometeorites Shower Event Asteroid Belt

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