Glass beads found in clams in Florida help uncover the signs of a meteorite impact
Glass beads that were discovered in clam shells are linked to a meteorite strike that took place near Florida. The ancient clam shells were discovered 13 years ago in Sarasota County quarry in Florida. Scientists have found these clam shells to have deposits of microtektites (tektites smaller than the size of one millimeter) stored within them.
Tektites are glass-shaped bodies formed during meteorite impacts. However, such tektites from celestial debris have been found in clam shells for the first time. The quarry was found to be a rich storehouse of shells collected over millions of years. The researchers found a total of 83 glass beads preserved in such shells. These microtektites get washed up from their sources into water bodies and end up getting collected into such clam shells. These shells in turn get buried under sediments which helps in preserving whatever they have stored inside their shells.
The glass beads were first found by Mike Meyer a University of South Florida student while working on a field project. Meyer was working together with Roger Portell, director of Florida Museum of Natural History invertebrate paleontology collections. Portell said that “It could be that they’re from a single tektite bed that got washed out over millennia or it could be evidence for numerous impacts out on the Florida Platform that we just don’t know about.”
Meyer is now a researcher and an assistant professor of Earth systems science at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the lead author of the study. He started reworking on his findings two years ago. The researchers estimate the date of the meteorite collision somewhere about 2 to 3 million years ago. Though the research is still at a preliminary level, it has helped uncover traces of a possible meteorite impact that was previously unknown.