Controversial Tektite Features

Bubble blisters? Impact-welded tektite pebbles?

Page updated and new pieces added December 29, 2012

Featured as Meteorite Times "Tektite of the Month" in March 2003 and again in April 2006, these peculiar features have been variously explained as the result of collisional welding of two tektites, or as bubble-blisters. I dug through our inventory to provide you with a selection. I maintain that these are bubble blisters. For my evidence, see in particular the follow specimens below: 36.7gms, 31.0 gms, 27.6 gms (B), 27.2 gms, 18.7 gms, 15.7 gms, 14.8 gms, and 8.6 gms. These are all quite unequivocal in the message they tell graphically. Enjoy!

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240.0 gms

Here's a whoppin' big 240 gm biscuit with a nicely convex feature that is deeply inset into the stone, more like what you'd get if you pushed a blunt oval hole punch into modeling clay.
  229.4 gms

A beautiful very big patty with a nice hemispheric blister in positive relief. 
202.8 gms

Here's a cool piece. It is a very large splatted "onion" form teardrop (stubby tail at lower right). Specific Gravity measurements indicate that this piece still contains a 7 to 9 cc bubble. While the blister feature is convex, it is set deeply into the surface. A superb tektite by all standards!
  170.6 gms


A monster---the biggest example I have ever seen. If you like the collisional welding angle, this one is pretty interesting. I still think it is the same as the others (that are erupting bubble blisters) but this guy is so big it requires a pretty big bubble which is not obvious from the general heft of the specimen. I haven't measured the specific gravity to check this out--- 
  134.1 gms

Another very high-relief slightly oval hemisphere. 
113.8 gms

A double bubble! Interestingly, the right-edge furrow projects upwards as a hollow tube digging in along the moat.
111.3 gms

A cute tiny oval projecting a little above the surrounding skin. Overall specimen is an oval patty.
    96.6 gms


This dumbbell has a big blister on the right, and a smaller one on the left end. There are a couple of fairly minor glassy chips. 
82.2 gms


The 2nd largest example I have. Unfortunately, the stone, shaped like a thick orange segment is frosted by erosional abrasion. This might be an interesting one to cut.
  62.8 gms


This is a partial, the protruding feature split both lengthwise and crosswise by original spallation surfaces. In this case, the profiles do not reveal anything definitive---
  59.1 gms

An interesting compound example. There's a tiny blister erupting inside the big one. The end view does show good flow-banding structure merging downwards into a big central bubble chamber. A pretty instructive piece.
  50.8 gms

A nice-sized oval example, complete. No internal view.
  49.6 gms

A nice splatted tear form with a moderately defined blister on the stem end. 
  42.0 gms


A bulbous teardrop nose with quite a large, positive relief blister surrounded by an ear-shaped moat. 
36.7 gms


 Here is a very instructive and important piece. Where the blister is cross-sectioned by a primary fracture, you can see a concavity rising from the central bubble mimicked by flow-banding, which in this case is unequivocally outlining a rising bubble, not a collision-welded pebble!
  33.3 gms

$35On Hold
An interesting blister that looks distorted by stretching
  32.4 gms

 Although partly cross-sectioned by a primary fracture, nothing diagnostic seems to be visible. This looks to be a wedge from a bubble-cored biscuit. There is a significant glassy chip on the back side.
31.0 gms


Here's one that tells it all. The primary cross-sectional fracture reveals a vent spiracle rooted in a central bubble cavity and erupting through the middle of the blister. About as graphic as it could get! For those that like rocks that tell a story plainly, here is the rosetta stone of bubble blisters. A very important piece.
  30.5 gms


 A nice high-relief example split down the middle by a primary fracture that reveals a central bubble cavity. Unfortunately, a fresh glassy chip forms the side face of the blister, reducing the price
  28.9 gms

A smallish example on a fragment of a spheroid with multiple internal bubbles. 
28.0 gms

 Quite an oddball. The outside shows a nicely formed elongate blister, but the inside is a very odd folded and rewelded bubble flap. Imagine chewing bubble gum where you fold it over in your mouth trapping an internal bubble to pop as you chew. This one looks like a folded flap where a bubble was being forced to the surface. A fine piece to ponder----
    27.9 gms

This is a bubble shard from what was once a very large bubble cored patty. The small blister is very close to what we would call a "navel" on a rizalite---which raises a question about navels vs. bubble blisters. Navels are commonly believed to represent terrestrial etching all conical impact fractures.  
    27.6 gms (A)

 In addition to the smallish oval plainly evident, that big feature on the bottom right may be another poorly defined blister. The backside an one end show a lot of complexity, maybe akin to the 28.0 gm specimen above?, but unfortunately, the underside is about 30% glassy fracture surface. Would be a good one to saw and etch---
27.6 gms (B)


Stunner! Look at the side view in the second image. This one was ready to erupt with a final film of glass at the apex of the bubble thin enough to transmit light. I would ask a lot more for this specimen, but there is a v-shape glassy chip right at the top of the bubble (visible in left image). The chip mars the aesthetics, but can't detract from the graphic display of blister origin presented by this piece! A very important illustration piece. 
27.2 gms

A very nice bubble shard with a fracture bisecting the big, well-formed blister. A clear concavity domes the roof of the big central bubble directly below the blister. A fine, definitive example. 
  22.5 gms

A high quality little specimen, again, a bubble shard. However, the blister in this case is not matched by internal deformation of the main chamber wall. Instead, it lies above a fairly thick region. Maybe there's another little bubble hidden in that that is responsible for the blister. 
  21.0 gms

Another bubble shard from a hollow biscuit. Nice oval blister, but no matching internal concavity in the central chamber. 
  19.2 gms


 And another bubble shard from a hollow biscuit; quite a nice big oval blister. A very subtle doming of the internal chamber below the blister can be felt, but is not visually obvious. Some small glassy chips around the edges of the underside.
    18.7 gms

Another story-teller. In the side view of the right-hand image, you can see where a spiracle rose from the central chamber and erupted through the apex of the blister. Important piece. 
15.7 gms

$55On Hold
A most instructive piece. This is a bubble shard that is broken directly across a bubble blister. Click on the thumbnail to see additional larger views. The convex outer surface is paired with a concave inner surface like the 27.2 gm specimen above, and subtle flow banding in the glass is continuous from the main body of the tektite across the arched blister. This one is for sure a rising bubble.
14.8 gms


 Spectacular. In this bubble shard, the rising spiracle has thinned and breached the blister, forming a natural hole, still preserved. Small glassy chips around chamber edges. Important piece.
11.5 gms

A very high-quality little piece with beautiful surface luster. The side view exposes a vent spiracle, although it is a bit cryptic and less certain than some of the preceding examples. 
8.6 gms

There is just enough of the blister preserved to allow recognition, but the real glory of this piece is the well preserved internal spiracle similar to the  31.0, 27.6, and 18.7 gm specimens above.
The following are all sold, but I've left the pics up so you can see the similarities and differences between examples of these tektite blisters.
  19.0 gms Another piece broken across the feature in question. Again, there is an internal bubble and continuity of flow banding.
  19.1 gms Another broken piece providing a cross-section. There is an internal bubble, but flow banding is not visible
  128.3 gms Here's one like Paul Harris depicted in Meteorite Times. If I was to pick a piece from this selection to suggest impact-fusing of a small tektite into a larger, this would be it. I don't see any definitive features, but the little bead stands in strong relief! The overall specimen is a classic patty-shape.
  12.5 gms Here's a high-relief feature at the small end of what is probably a bladed teardrop tail.
  17.6 gms This specimen is split through the feature, but there is no obvious bubble. The flow banding is very complexly swirled and seems to be continuous with that of the main body of the stone
  21.0 gms A gentler, lower relief example.
  87.9 gms An aesthetically beautiful oval example. Unfortunately the specimen is flawed by a couple of thin glassy chips below my index finger in the image.
  39.8 gms Here is a fine specimen! A very rough-skinned bladed teardrop a little over 3 inches long. The blister is high-relief and a bit asymmetrical, tilted towards the nose of the teardrop.
  50.0 gms A fine example. Quite large, high-relief, and seemingly "dented" on the back side below the bubble. Maybe an impact there triggered the bubble expulsion on the other side?
  24.4 gms Fairly high relief blister, broad oval moat.

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