STARBURST RAYS and SKIN-SPLITS

Updated January 2013

Hemispheric grooves in starburst ray patterns are quite frequently encountered in tektites from some areas. I attached no special significance to them until I saw about 50 of them at once.


In the chaos of a major bolide impact, anything can happen once---but in this case there is a definite theme. As can be seen in the images on this page, the starbursts present a very uniform appearance, and virtually always radiate from an anomalous flattened or indented point. The grooves are commonly much smoother than the adjacent tektite uplands, and often show taffy-like stretch marks crossing the groove.


It now seems clear that these starburst rays are just what they look like: collisional impact stress fractures that ruptured the semi-brittle exterior skin of the tektite while the interior was still a stretchy, viscous liquid. Whether the collision was with other stones flying in the ejecta cloud, or with the ground (or both) is uncertain.


The starburst rays are most commonly seen radiating from the rims of patties, but I have examples involving bars, rods, teardrops, dumbells, and irregular forms. They may form on facial positions as well as rims

Here is a particularly instructive example. On one side a starburst radiating in all directions within a concavity is the impact point.
In side view, it is evident that the impact bowed the bar into a concavo-convex form, splitting the skin on the side opposite the starburst indentation
Here is the stretched, split side opposite the impact point. This highlights the fact that there can be two different aspects to the impact damage: an impact starburst, and what I have come to term a "skin-split". Where a patty is hit edge-on as in some of the specimens below, the two features may blend.
One of my favorite skin-splits of all time, this extreme splatform was featured in Meteorite Times Magazine (May 2012).

Now that you know what they are, here's a sampling for sale. Get 'em while they're hot!


This is newly listed material (1/8/13) and some real trophy pieces are offered. I've included a variety of examples to give you some idea of the range of forms these early-impact features can present.

New, March 2013: A great selection of Skin Splits

 In Preparation. Pricing to follow
27.4 gms
19.1 gms
28.7 gms
17.3 gms
15.1 gms
11.8 gms
14.7 gms
11.2 gms
19.6 gms
13.4 gms
37.7 gms
12.5 gms
15.4 gms
27.9 gms
  62.9 gms


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One side

The other side

 
118.5 gm, $200Sold A glossy, high-quality tektite with THREE well-developed starbursts! A gorgeous stone. I think this one votes for impacts in flight, as it would be hard to imagine more than one damaging impact with the ground.
193.3 gm $175 SoldThis one is very graphic. It is an oval patty that hit side-on, actually mushrooming the nose.
181.9 gm $175 This one impacted like 193.3 above, but also has a nice radial starburst on the back side. Two hits!
210 gm $200 A plano-concave splatted bar with a mystery to solve. If the overall geomentry reflects aerodynamic shaping , this implies flight with the flat side down. But the starburst reflects an oblique hit to the edge/nose. Did the starburst form during a spinning hit in flight after which stable flight made the final geometry?
150.4 gm $175 High quality glossy patty that hit edge-on .
176.9 gm $220 SoldClassic dragon-track on both sides
89.4 gm $110 A splatted teardrop with skin textures nicely defining top and bottom. Has two nice starbursts on opposite edges.
145.1 gm $150 Texture galore! Smooth, ropy top, deeply pitted bottom, Two starbursts with deep, sharp splits on edges 90 degrees apart.
186.1 gm $170 Deeply dished plano-concave patty with nice dragon-tracks and a small starburst on the basal surface.
173.7 gm Not for sale; this is the one featured in the header section of this page.
38.5 gm $65 SoldVery aesthetic piece with unusually broad rounded gougess on both sides.
45.4 gm $ 55Sold Half patty with nice dragon-tracks on front side.
45.7 gm $45 Flat disk with dragon-track. Small glassy chip on reverse
38.4 gm $50Sold Nice one with two well-defined edge starbursts
37.4 gm $35 Biscuit with oblique starburst.
45.0 gm (A) $40 Half biscuit, almost flat enough to stand on impact surface.
64.2 gm $65 Beautiful tektite with great top/bottom skin textures and a complex skin split pattern with nice stretch-marks.
41.1 gm $45 Nice oval patty with sharply incised dragon-tracks on one side.
45.0 gm (B) $100 SOLDA stunner with stretchy deep splits on both sides that form a translucent window. This is technically equivalent to a stretch tektite. This deep dragon track even has a heel imprint!
44.0 gm $75 SoldA true skin-split opposite a doming side impact. There is a glassy chip on the lower right of the top side.
71.1 gm Not for Sale. This one was featured on one of our first business cards.
84.7 gm $75 Another splatform with well-defined top and base skin textures but an edge impact. Great rays on basal surface.
56.1 gm $35 A little egg with a full radial impact starburst
74.3 gm $75Sold A medium-sized egg with a full radial impact starburst
240 gm $175 SoldA very big egg with a full radial impact starburst.
91.0 gm $125Sold A nice big teardrop that took a head-on collision right on the nose!
125.0 gm $100 SoldA splatted bar that took a hit on the nose.

Here's what's left of our old starburst list. Many are sold, but there are still some good ones at the original pricing---

thailandite

Biscuit with a facial starburst; 68.7 g, 61.3 X 45.2 X 17,3 mm. $22.00

#1025

 

thailandite

Fine example. Patty with rim impact; 58.9 g, 52.4 X 48.0 X 16.5 mm. $20.00

#1026

 

thailandite

Another patty, very nice ray development; 53.4 g., 55.6 X 43.6 X 18.0 mm. $ 22.00Sold

#1027

 

thailandite

Another nice example. There is a small terrestrial chip on the edge surface near the starburst origin; 65.4 g, 62.4 X 52.4 X 15.3 mm. $23.00Sold

#1028

 

thailandite

A well-formed bar with a side impact; an exceptionally fine, flawless glossy specimen. Prime! 100.8 g, 78.4X 42.5 X 22.8 mm. $75.00.On hold

#1031

Exceptional specimen!

thailandite

A nicely formed 100.0 gm patty with a rim impact; 65.8 X 63.0 X 17.3 mm. $ 28.00Sold

#1032

 

thailandite

A smaller example at 46.3 g; 49.8 X 45.0 X 16.6 mm Sold

#1034

 

thailandite

This is a thicker, stumpier example with a suggestion of plastic mushrooming at the impact rim. The back side of the starburst area is smooth and indented, maybe the impression of the object it struck. An interesting piece. 60.4 g; 47.0 X 45.5 X 23.4 mm. $28.00

#1037

 

thailandite

A very nice oval patty at 54.1 g; 59.8 X 49.5 X 14.5 mm. $22.00

#1038

 

 

 

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