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Chiemite -a high PT carbon impactite from shock coalification/carbonization of impact target vegetation



The high-pressure, high-temperature carbon impactite of more than 90% carbon with inclusions of diamond and carbines, named after the Chiemgau impact crater strewn field, which must have been formed by direct shock carbonization of the target vegetation, has now been evidenced in the same formation in the impact areas of the Saarland and the Czech Republic.
X. Минералогия астроблем и метеоритов
Chiemite — a high PT carbon impactite from shock coalification/carbonization
of impact target vegetation
K. Ernstson1, T. G. Shumilova2
1University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany;
2IG FRC Komi SC UB RAS, Syktyvkar, Russia;
Unusual carbonaceous matter in the form of
mostly centimetersized lumps and cobbles has
been sampled in the southeast Bavarian Alpine
Foreland, in the Czech Republic near Pardubice
and in the Saarland region near the French
border (Fig. 1). It is a highly porous blackish
material with a glassy luster on freshly crushed
surfaces (Fig. 2). The material is unknown from
any industrial or other anthropogenic processes
and thus appears to have a natural origin. Here
we report on results of a detailed analysis of this
strange matter pointing to a process of formation
in proposed meteorite impact events. From its
first discovery in the Bavarian Chiemgau impact
crater strewn field [1] the name chiemite gained
currency, and in particular these finds have
already been addressed earlier (references in [1])
before a more general occurrence in impact sites
became obvious [2, 3].
Typical chiemite samples from the field are
shown in Fig. 3 as pure chiemite matter, where
the pseudomorphosis after wood sticks out, and in
compound with rock and organic matter. Under the
SEM the typical strongly porous texture is evident.
Physical properties are a low density mostly
<1 g/cm3, a significant electrical conductivity and in
some cases a moderate magnetic susceptibility and
remnant magnetization.
Methods (with a focus
on the Chiemgau impact chiemite):
Optical and atomic force microscopy, Xray flu
orescence spectroscopy, scanning and transmission
electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), highresolution
Raman spectroscopy, Xray diffraction and differen
tial thermal analysis, as well as δ13C and 14C radio
carbon isotopic data analysis.
The most significant observations described in
[4] are tabulated in short as follows.
Fig. 3. Chiemite samples from the field. A: various shapes. B, C: chiemite
fragments pseudomorphic after pieces of branches. D: chiemite
breccialike intermeshed with a limestone cobble. E: chiemite crust
on a sandstone cobble. F: relatively fresh wood particle embedded in
chiemite [4]
Fig. 1. Location map for the three chiemite
sources in the Chiemgau, Saarland and Czech
impact strewn fields
Fig. 2. Freshly broken chiemite sample. Photo
width 6 cm
Modern Problems of Theoretical, Experimental, and Applied Mineralogy (Yushkin Readings 2020) -
Proceedings of Russian conference with international participation - Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russia
Юшкинские чтения — 2020
XRF: about 90 % carbon, remaining Si, Al and
Fe, subordinately S; traces of other elements.
SEM, microprobe: almost pure glasslike carbon
matrix contains finely dispersed micrometer and
submicrometersized inclusions with a complex
composition not known mineralogically.
XRD, XR synchrotron diffraction: Evidence of
nanocrystalline diamond and graphite.
TEM: Glasslike carbon structural features.
Crystalline carbyne and diamond matter with
different order level.
TEM and Raman: Polycrystalline fine grained
aggregates to polynanocrystalline diamond
aggregates and amorphous diamondlike carbon
exists. — αcarbyne and βcarbyne but not any
graphite were observed.
Raman spectroscopy: Submicrometersized
optically transparent substances are carbynelike
carbon or diamondlike carbon.
Carbon isotopes: Carbon δ13CPDB data show
values between –22.6 and –24.6 ‰ near to data of
C3 plants.
Radiocarbon data for two chiemite samples
are void of 14C corresponding to an age of > 48,000
years BP not compatible with the chiemite find
Discussion and conclusions
The fully amorphous chiemite matrix contains
diamond, amorphous diamondlike carbon and
monocrystalline carbyne inclusions. The strongly
porous texture requires an intense gas phase during
formation. — Carbyne formation needed very high
PT conditions of about 4—6 GPa and 2,500—
4,000 K. Probable carbon glass was formed at
temperatures as high as 3,800—4,000 K. — Organic
matter was involved in the formation process.
The lack of 14C requires an age > 48,000 years
(less probable) or isotope separation. Chiemite
does not correspond to any known natural earth
material. An industrial formation and an occurrence
from e.g. wildfires can reasonably be excluded. —
The chiemite components show similarities to
aftercoal meteorite impacts [5]. — We propose the
chiemite was formed by meteorite impact shock
having affected vegetation like wood and peat in
the impact target area, hence establishing a new
kind of impactite that originated from immediate
shock transformation of organic matter to high
rank carbon. — The impactite nature is underlined
by the occurrence of chiemite samples in three
established or proposed young impact strewn fields
(Fig. 1). The finds closely resembling each other up
to the enigmatic absence of 14C despite their evident
young ages, and a so far unknown isotope separation
in the impact process has to be assumed. — In all
three impact cases there is much evidence of big
airbursts, which initiated extremetemperature gas
jets impinging on the ground. The surviving of
fresh organic matter in the impactite under these
extreme conditions is important for astrobiological
aspects. — The prediction [5, 6] of more impact
diamonds from organic matter than hitherto
assumed is likewise underlined.
The authors thank Isaenko S. I., Ulyashev V. V.,
Makeev B. A., Rappenglück M. A., Veligzhanin A. A. for
help in the analytical studies and discussion.
1. Rappenglück, M. A., Rappenglück, B. & Ernstson.
K. Cosmic collision in prehistory. The Chiemgau
Impact: research in a Bavarian meteorite crater strewn
field // Zeitschrift für Anomalistik. 2017. V 17. P. 235—
2. Ernstson, K., Müller, W., Neumair, A. The proposed
Nalbach (Saarland, Germany) impact site: is it a compan
ion to the Chiemgau (Southeast Bavaria, Germany) im
pact strewn field? // 2013. 76th Annual Meteoritical
Society Meeting, 5058.
3. Molnár, M., Ventura, K., Švanda, P., Štaffen, Z.,
Rappenglück, M. A., Ernstson, K. Chrudim Pardubice:
Evidence for a Young Meteorite Impact Strewn Field
in the Czech Republic // Lunar and Planetary Science
Conference XLVIII. 2017. 1920.
Fig. 4. Chiemite under the SEM. Chiemgau impact (A, B) [3], Saarland impact (C, D), Czech impact (E). Fossilized wooden
structure in C
X. Минералогия астроблем и метеоритов
4. Shumilova, T. G., Isaenko, S. I., Ulyashev, V. V., Makeev,
B. A., Rappenglück, M. A., Veligzhanin, A. A., Ernstson,
K. Enigmatic GlassLike Carbon from the Alpine Foreland,
Southeast Germany: A Natural Carbonization Process//
Acta Geologica Sinica. 2018. V. 92, P. 2179—2200.
5. Shumilova, T. G., Isaenko, S. I., Ulyashev, V. V.,
Kazakov, V. A., and Makeev, B. A. Aftercoal diamonds: an
enigmatic type of impact diamonds // Eur. J. Min. 2018.
V. 30. P. 61—76.
6. Shumilova, T. G., Ulyashev, V. V., Kazakov, V. A.,
Isaenko, S. I., Vasil`ev, E. A., Svetov, S. A., Chazhengina, Y.,
Kovalchuk, N. S. Karite diamond fossil: a new type of
natural diamond // Geoscience Frontiers, 2019. https://
Artifact-in-impactite: a new kind of impact rock.
Evidence from the Chiemgau meteorite impact in southeast Germany
B. Rappenglück1, M. Hiltl2, K. Ernstson3
1Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, D82205 Gilching, Germany;
2Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, D73447 Oberkochen;
3University of Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany;
The Chiemgau impact (Fig. 1) as a meanwhile
established Holocene impact event has featured
quite a few exceptional observations in the last 15
years, which are summarized in [1, and referenc
es therein]. From the beginning of research it was
clear that a huge catastrophe in the Bronze Age or
Celtic era must have already affected densely pop
ulated regions, and in a routine archeological ex
cavation at Lake Chiemsee the worldwide unique
constellation was encountered that an impact ca
tastrophe layer was excavated sandwiched be
tween settlement layers of the Stone Age/Bronze
Age and the Roman Period (Fig. 1, 2) [2]. Among
the finds of ceramics, stone tools, bones and metal
artefacts also featured externally rather unsight
ly lumps, which were found by use of metal de
tectors and were addressed as «slag» by the ex
cavator. Here we report on specifically conducted
mineralogicalgeochemical investigations on 16
«slag» samples which have led to very remarkable
Fig. 2. Inventory of the Stöttham archeological site (from left to right): diamictite of the catastrophic layer; archeological
finds; carbon, metallic and glass spherules; strongly corroded and fractured cobbles, metalrich «slag»
Fig. 1. Location map for the Stöttham archeological excavation (B) in the Chiemgau impact crater strewn field
... Such spherules were found embedded in the fusion crust of cobbles from a crater as well as a possible outfall in soils widespread over Europe Hoffmann et al. 2005Hoffmann et al. , 2006Yang et al., 2008). Abundant finds of glass-like carbon fragments with pumice texture, which has been given the name chiemite, contain the carbon allotropes diamond and carbyne in a largely amorphous matrix of more than 90 % carbon (Shumilova et al. 2018, Ernstson andShumilova 2020). A formation of a direct airburst shock transformation of the target vegetation (wood, peat) to carbon melt and vapor in the impact event is suggested. ...
Full-text available
Secondary craters in impacts on moon, planets and their moons are a well known phenomenon, which has been investigated many times. In the article commented by us here, the authors report on a crater strewn field in the American state of Wyoming, which is interpreted as a field of secondary craters of a so far unknown larger primary impact structure and as a first on Earth. We compare the Wyoming crater strewn field with the Chiemgau impact crater strewn field in SE Germany and find that both have nearly identical characteristics of virtually all relevant features, in terms of geometries and petrography. We conclude that the alleged Wyoming secondary crater field is a fiction and the craters attributable to a primary impact. The alleged evidence is very poor to easily refuted. A primary crater does not exist to this day. The negative free-air gravity anomaly referred to, but not even shown, is invalid for this purpose. The Bouguer gravity map shows no indication of a possible large impact structure. Also unsuitable is the use of asymmetries with elongations of assumed secondary craters with a very questionable corridor intersection for the ejecta. Of 31 craters surveyed as proven, 15 are circular (eccentricity 1) and more than half (19) have an eccentricity ≤1.2. Circular and elongated craters are intermixed. The evaluated crater axes may just as well originate in a multiple primary impact. Elongated craters may also result from doublets of overlapping craters that are no longer fresh, as described by the authors themselves. In their paper, the authors do not show a Digital Terrain Model with contour lines for any of the surveyed craters, but only aerial photos blurred by vegetation. A verification of the crater measurements with the deduced eccentricities and strike directions is impossible. Not a single topographic profile over even a single crater in the strewn field is shown, either from DTM data or from an optical leveling, which could have been accomplished in an instant given the relatively small craters. Grave is the misconception that such a large crater field of 90 km length with three separate clusters is not possible according to 20 years old model calculations. A primary impact with multiple projectiles could perhaps be conceivable under rare circumstances, which are described by the authors as not relevant. The alleged impossibility of such a large primary strewn field with referring to the known small impact fields of Morasko, Odessa, Wabar, Henbury, Sikhote Alin, Kaalijärv, and Macha is contradicted by the three larger impact strewn fields of Campo del Cielo, Bajada del Diablo (very likely), and Chiemgau, which are best described in the literature but are not mentioned by Kenkmann et al. with a single word. The comparison of the Wyoming strewn field with the Chiemgau impact crater strewn field of about the same size here in the commentary article proves the scientifically clearly much greater significance of the Chiemgau impact, which must be considered as currently the largest and most significant Holocene impact despite the rejection and ignoring in some parts of the so-called impact community.
Full-text available
We use Schmieder and Kring's article to show how science still works within the so-called "impact community" and how scienti c data are manipulated and "rubber-stamped" by reviewers (here, e.g., C. Koeberl and G. Osinski). We accuse the authors of continuing to list the Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida impact structures and one of the world's most prominent ejecta occurrences of the Pelarda Fm. in Spain 1 2 as non-existent in the compilation. The same applies to the spectacular Chiemgau impact in Germany, which has been proven by all impact criteria for several years. For the authors' dating list, we propose that the multiple impact of Azuara is included together with the crater chain of the Rubielos de la Cérida impact basin as a dated candidate for the third, so far undated impact markers in the Massignano outcrop in Italy.
Impact diamonds were discovered in the 70s and are usually accepted as being paramorphs after graphite, resulting in grains of extremely high mechanical quality. A diffusion-less mechanism for the graphite-to-diamond transition under huge pressure has been experimentally realized and theoretically explained. Besides, another type of impact product has received much less attention, namely diamonds formed after coal as a result of the impact. Here we describe after-coal impact diamonds from the giant Kara astrobleme (Pay-Khoy, Russia), which resulted from a large asteroid impact about 70 Ma ago. The impact created a large number of unusual impact diamonds, which are described here for the first time using high-resolution techniques including visible and UV Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Two main varieties of after-coal diamonds occur: micrograined (sugar-like, subdivided into coherent and friable) and, as a new type, paramorphs after organic relics. After-coal diamonds differ from after-graphite impact diamonds by the texture, the absence of lonsdaleite, a micro- and nanoporous structure. The sugar-like variety consists of tightly aggregated, well-shaped single nanocrystals. The after-organic diamond paramorphs are characterized by a well-preserved relict organic morphology, sub- nanocrystalline–amorphous sp3-carbon (ta-C) nanocomposites and other specific properties (optical transparence, brown color, very high luminescence, spectral features). Based on the description of after-coal diamonds, we propose a new, polystage formation mechanism: high-velocity coal pyrolysis with hetero-elements removal followed by diffusion-limited crystallization of pure carbon. The similarity of the after-coal diamonds features with carbonado is a strong piece of evidence in support of the impact hypothesis for the origin of carbonado.
The proposed Nalbach (Saarland, Germany) impact site: is it a compan ion to the Chiemgau
  • K Ernstson
  • W Müller
  • A Neumair
Ernstson, K., Müller, W., Neumair, A. The proposed Nalbach (Saarland, Germany) impact site: is it a compan ion to the Chiemgau (Southeast Bavaria, Germany) im pact strewn field? // 2013. 76th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting, 5058.
Enigmatic GlassLike Carbon from the Alpine Foreland
  • T G Shumilova
  • S I Isaenko
  • V V Ulyashev
  • B A Makeev
  • M A Rappenglück
  • A A Veligzhanin
  • K Ernstson
Shumilova, T. G., Isaenko, S. I., Ulyashev, V. V., Makeev, B. A., Rappenglück, M. A., Veligzhanin, A. A., Ernstson, K. Enigmatic GlassLike Carbon from the Alpine Foreland, Southeast Germany: A Natural Carbonization Process//