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The Shape Distribution of Splash-form Tektites Predicted by Numerical Simulations of Rotating Fluid Drops

Abstract:

Splash-form tektites are glassy rocks ranging in size from roughly 1 to 100 mm that are believed to have formed from the splash of silicate liquid after a large terrestrial impact from which they are strewn over thousands of km. They are found in an array of shapes including spheres, oblate ellipsoids, dumb-bells, rods, and possibly fragments of tori. It has recently become appreciated that surface tension and centrifugal forces associated with the rotation of fluid droplets are the main factors determining the shapes of these tektites. In this contribution, we compare the shape distribution of 1163 measured splashform tektites with the results of the time evolution of a 3D numerical model of a rotating fluid drop with surface tension. We demonstrate that many aspects of the measured shape distribution can be explained by the results of the dynamical model.

Authors: Butler, Stauffer, Sinha, Lilly, and Spiteri

Download: ButlerEtAl2011