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Geochim Cosmochim Acta. 1992;56:1365-72.

Noble metal abundances in an Early Archean impact deposit.

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Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.
Stanford U, CA, Dept Geology


We report detailed analyses on the concentrations of the noble metals Pd, Os, Ir, Pt, and Au in an early Archean spherule bed (S4) of probable impact origin from the lower Fig Tree Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. Compared to other sedimentary deposits of known or suspected impact origin, some noble metals are present in exceptionally high concentrations. Noble metal abundances are fractionated relative to abundances in chondrites with ratios of Os/Ir, Pt/Ir, Pd/Ir, and Au/Ir at only 80, 80, 41, and 2% of these values in CI chondrites. Although an extraterrestrial source is favored for the noble metal enrichment, the most plausible cause of the fractionation is by regional hydrothermal/metasomatic alteration.

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