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Iron-Rich Spherules of Taihu Lake: Origin Hypothesis of Taihu Lake Basin in China

State Key Laboratory for Mineral Deposits Research, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul Sylvester, Alexander R Cruden, Sytle M. Antao, Huifang Xu, Nigel J. Cook, Theodore J. Bornhorst, Hanumantha Rao Kota and Anna H. Kaksonen
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 632;
Received: 30 April 2021 / Revised: 10 June 2021 / Accepted: 11 June 2021 / Published: 15 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Minerals: Frontiers of Mineral Science)
In this paper, a detailed mineralogical study on iron-rich spherules in Taihu Lake was carried out, and we present a proposed impact-related origin for these iron-rich spherules. The iron-rich spherical concretions in Taihu Lake occur in a specific silty layer formed around ~7 ka B.P., sandwiched between an upper lacustrine deposit layer and a lower hard loess layer, and they are widely distributed and are the most abundant iron-rich concretions in that specific layer in the vicinity of Taihu Lake. The spherules are typically ~0.5 to 3 mm in diameter with a shape very similar to a spherical shape but not exactly rounded and have various apparent aerodynamic shapes, such as spherical, cone, spindle, ellipsoidal, elongated and pear-shaped morphologies. SEM imaging shows that there is no central core and no concentric layers in the spherules. Iron-rich spherical concretions are similar to accretionary lapilli and have a typical colloidal structure with abundant angular quartz grains and trace fragments of clays wrapped in fine cements that are mainly goethite with minor clays and carbon particles. The typical nodule-forming mechanism in aqueous sediments does not sufficiently explain the morphology and internal features of the iron-rich spherules of Taihu Lake, whereas the aerosol formation mechanism under the airburst impact origin hypothesis of the Taihu Lake basin may be a better explanation of the unique mineralogy of the spherules. Specifically, airburst impact plumes could be the reaction chambers of the aerosol to form the accretionary lapilli with a colloidal texture for the interior, while a dense shell and semi-plastic morphological features can form in the falling processes from higher altitudes in the plume. View Full-Text
Keywords: Taihu Lake; iron-rich spherules; goethite; quartz debris; airburst Taihu Lake; iron-rich spherules; goethite; quartz debris; airburst
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zuo, S.; Xie, Z. Iron-Rich Spherules of Taihu Lake: Origin Hypothesis of Taihu Lake Basin in China. Minerals 2021, 11, 632.

AMA Style

Zuo S, Xie Z. Iron-Rich Spherules of Taihu Lake: Origin Hypothesis of Taihu Lake Basin in China. Minerals. 2021; 11(6):632.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zuo, Shuhao, and Zhidong Xie. 2021. "Iron-Rich Spherules of Taihu Lake: Origin Hypothesis of Taihu Lake Basin in China" Minerals 11, no. 6: 632.

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