QUANTITATIVE FLUID INCLUSION GAS ANALYSIS OF AIRBURST, NUCLEAR, IMPACT, AND FULGURITE GLASSES
The “clear” LDG has the lowest CO2 content and O2/Ar ratios are two orders of magnitude lower than atmospheric. The “foamy” glass samples have heterogeneous CO2 contents and O2/Ar ratios. N2/Ar ratios are similar to atmospheric (83.6). H2 and He are elevated but it is difficult to confirm whether they are of terrestrial or meteoritic origin. Combustion cannot account for oxygen depletion that matches the amount of CO2 produced. An alternative mechanism is required that removes oxygen without producing CO2.
Trinitite has exceedingly high CO2 which we attribute to carbonate breakdown of the caliche at ground zero. The O2/Ar ratio for trinitite is lower than atmospheric but higher than all LDG samples. N2/Ar ratios closely match atmospheric.
Samples from Lonar, Henbury and Aouelloul impact craters have atmospheric N2/Ar ratios. O2/Ar ratios at Lonar and Henbury are 9.5 to 9.9 whereas the O2/Ar ratio is 0.1 for the Aouelloul sample.
In most fulgurites the N2/Ar ratio is higher than atmospheric, possibly due to interference from CO. Oxygen ranges from 1.3 to 19.3%.
Gas signatures of LDG inclusions neither match those from the craters, trinitite nor fulgurites. It is difficult to explain both the observed depletion of oxygen in the LDG and a CO2 level that is lower than it would be if the CO2 were simply a product of hydrocarbon combustion in air. One possible mechanism for oxygen depletion is that as air turbulently mixed with a hot jet of vaporized asteroid from an airburst and expanded, the atmospheric oxygen reacted with the metal vapor to form metal oxides that condensed. This observation is compatible with the model of Boslough & Crawford (2008) who suggest that an airburst incinerates organic materials over a large area, melting surface materials that then quench to form glass. Bubbles would contain a mixture of pre-existing atmosphere with combustion products from organic material and products of the reaction between vaporized cosmic materials (including metals) and terrestrial surface and atmosphere.