King, Elbert A. Department of Geology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Occurrences, groups and ages
- Historical perspective
- Unanswered questions
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A member of one of several groups of objects that are composed almost entirely of natural glass formed from the melting and rapid cooling of terrestrial rocks by the energy accompanying impacts of large extraterrestrial bodies. Tektites are dark brown to green, show laminar to highly contorted flow structure on weathered surfaces and in thin slices, are brittle with excellent conchoidal fracture and occur in masses ranging to as much as tens of kilograms but are mostly much smaller to microscopic in size. The shapes of tektites are those of common fluid splash and rotational forms including drops, spheres and dumbbells, unless they have been abraded together with surface gravels. A few tektites have shapes that are caused by two different heating events: the impact that melted the parent rock to form the glass and a second event apparently due to reentry aerodynamic heating.
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