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ABSTRACT

Two late Eocene impact spherule layers are known: the North America microtektite layer (from the Chesapeake Bay crater) and the slightly older clinopyroxene (cpx) spherule layer (from Popigai crater). Positive Ir anomalies occur at 5.61 m and 6.19 m above the base of a late Eocene section at Massignano, Italy. The age difference between the two anomalies is ~65 ± 20 k.y. The older Ir anomaly at 5.61 m appears to be associated with the cpx spherule layer. Although no impact spherules or shocked-mineral grains have been found associated with the upper Ir anomaly at 6.19 m, it has been proposed that it may be from the Chesapeake Bay impact. Comparison with other distal ejecta layers suggests that microtektites, but not shocked-mineral grains, from the Chesapeake Bay crater could have been thrown as far as Massignano. However, their absence neither supports nor disproves the hypothesis that the Ir anomaly at 6.19 m is from the Chesapeake Bay impact. On the other hand, the North American microtektite layer is not associated with an Ir anomaly. Furthermore, the average age difference between the cpx spherule layer and the North American microtektite layer appears to be ~18 ± 11 k.y., which is nearly one quarter the age difference between the two Ir anomalies at Massignano. This indicates that the Ir anomaly at 6.19 m is too young to be from the Chesapeake Bay impact, and thus is most likely not from the Chesapeake Bay impact.

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