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Notes on the Black Mat Sediment, Mucuñuque Catchment, Northern Mérida Andes, Venezuela

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Abstract:

The enigmatic black mat sediment complex in the northern Andes, previously considered the product of a high-grade lightning strike and low grade brush fire, has been upgraded recently to a conflagration resulting from incoming asteroid/comet impact over the Laurentide Ice Sheet at approximately 12.9 ka. Previous evidence from the black mat beds of disrupted quartz and orthoclase grains and intense firing from incoming C-rich ejecta is further supported by new SEM/EDS and FIB analyses of fine grain silt and clay spherules (10-∼2 μm dia.) of C, Fe and Mn composition, a mixed material of partly ejecta and partly country rock. Because the environment at the time of ejecta impact was in the initial stage of seral vegetative development as wet tundra, part of the clay/organic balls, classic 'house of cards' form, which constitute a portion of the sediment complex, may be of cosmic origin. Evidence of cyanobacteria and fungal filaments on and within grain coatings are probably post depositional and therefore of terrestrial origin.

Keywords: ASTEROID/COMET IMPACTS; BLACK MAT; YOUNGER DRYAS GLACIATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jamr.2011.1071

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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  • Journal of Advanced Microscopy Research (JAMR) provides a forum for rapid dissemination of important developments in high-resolution microscopy techniques to image, characterize and analyze man-made and natural samples; to study physicochemical phenomena such as abrasion, adhesion, corrosion and friction; to perform micro and nanofabrication, lithography, patterning, micro and nanomanipulation; theory and modeling, as well as their applications in all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.
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