Micro-Forms of Hay-Silica Glass and of Volcanic Glass

George Baker
C.S.I.R.O. Mineragraphic Section, c/o University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

Summary: In view of recently reported microtektites in deep-sea sediments north-west, south-west, and south of Australia, attention is drawn to the occurrence of minute forms of hay-silica glass among the products of incineration of opal-bearing vegetation in haystacks, and to the minute forms of volcanic glass ejected in lava fountains. These terrestrial micro-forms of glass have properties within the range of those for the fossil glassy bodies named ‘microtektites’. It is possible that the fusion of opal contained in silica-accumulator plants during fierce, prehistoric forest, bush, and grass fires in Australia generated micro-forms of glass that became readily airborne and drifted away in up-currents. Carried by the south-east Trades, they would ultimately descend over the Wharton Basin in the Indian Ocean. Strong to violent northerlies and north-easterlies (Brickfielder Winds) would carry them over the ocean south and south-west of Australia. Thus they could contribute to the deposits of bodies of glass regarded as microtektites in deep-sea sediments. Many microbodies of glass in the Wharton Basin could have had their origin in the Javanese volcanic eruptions.

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1968 v. 36; no. 283; p. 1012-1023; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1968.283.036.14
© 1968, The Mineralogical Society
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