The University of Arizona

Iron oxidation state in impact glass from the K/T boundary at Beloc, Haiti, by high-resolution XANES spectroscopy

Gabriele Giuli, Sigrid Griet Eeckhout, Eleonora Paris, Christian Koeberl, Giovanni Pratesi


We examined the local iron environment in nine impact glasses from the Cretaceous- Tertiary (K/T) boundary section at Beloc, Haiti, which formed as the result of impact melting during the Chicxulub impact event. The samples have been analyzed by Fe K-edge high-resolution X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy to obtain data on both the Fe oxidation state and the coordination number. The pre-edge peak of our high-resolution XANES spectra display noticeable variations indicative of significant changes in the Fe oxidation state spanning a wide range from about 20 to 75 mol% trivalent Fe. All data plot along the same trend, falling between two mixing lines joining a point calculated as the mean of a group of tektites studied so far (consisting of four- and five-coordinated Fe2+) to [4]Fe^(3+) and [5]Fe^(3+), respectively. Thus, the XANES spectra can be interpreted as a mixture of [4]Fe^(2+), [5]Fe^(2+), [4]Fe^(3+), and [5]Fe^(3+). There is no evidence for six-fold coordinated Fe; however, its presence in small amounts cannot be excluded from XANES data alone. Our observations can be explained by two possible scenarios: either these impact glasses formed under very reducing conditions and, because of their small size, were easily oxidized in air while still molten, or they formed under a variety of different oxygen fugacities resulting in different Fe oxidation states. In the first case, the oxidation state and coordination number would imply similar formation conditions as splash-form tektites, followed by progressive oxidation.


Chicxulub Impact crater;Impact glasses; K/T boundary;Xanes

Full Text: