Atmospheric deposition of cosmic dust studied by moss analysis

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Atmospheric deposition of cosmic dust studied by moss analysis

Marina Frontasyeva, Vladimir Tselmovich, Sergey Pavlov, Omari Chaligava, Eiliv Steinnes

Experimental observations of cosmic dust (micrometeorites) in terrestrial moss samples collected in Arctic (Northern Norway), Antarctic (King George Island), highlands of Caucasus (Georgia), in pristine lowlands of Central Europe (Belarus and Tver region in Russia) are reported. The identification of particles as micrometeorites is based on their compositional, mineralogical, and texture analyses using microscopy of (SEM and EDAX techniques). A majority of the particles undergo melting during their passage of the atmosphere. Most abundantly, particularly at large sizes, cosmic spherules, i.e. completely melted droplets, were observed. These spherical particles provide a useful proxy for the total flux of dust because they are relatively easy to identify. They are the background magnetic component of cosmic dust, mainly microspheres and particles of native metals. Most often, it was possible to detect native Fe, Fe-Ni, and Fe-Cr minerals.

Keywords: Cosmic dust, Micrometeorites, Elemental analysis, SEM, EDAX

Proscience vol. 5

Pp 37-45