Surface Features of Metallic Spherules

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Science  01 Nov 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3592, pp. 581-582
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3592.581


Metallic spherules of variable character have been recovered from Antarctic snow. Three types were recognized from their surface features: type 1, smooth, polished spherules, apparently produced by surface melting of the particles upon entry into the earth's atmosphere; type 11, spherules with a corrugated surface caused by differential hardness of internal, intersecting lamellae, but modified by superimposed pits; and type III, spherules with random, circular depressions or pits apparently resulting from impact with submicroscopic particles. Spherules of types II and III were too small to have suffered abrasion by impacts in the earth's atmosphere, and it is postulated that their surfaces may have been produced by erosion in space. Preservation of these surface details would have been possible if entry into the atmosphere took place at low velocities and low-angle trajectories.