Terrestrial and Cosmic Spherules


First draft of an international research program


In the last hundred years microscopic spheroid or deformed spheroid objects were found in various geological formations by micromineralogists and micropaleontologists. The scientists have given them several names, as "spherules", "microspherules", "spherulites", "spherolites", "micrometeorites", etc. The investigation of these objects during the past was very difficult, because of their very small size. This may be the reason that they were neglected for a long time. The new instruments permit us to analyze very low particles but with very big detail. If during the past times the investigations were quite sporadic and no international organization has been established with the aim of their research, now it’s important to start with a global work for giving a right position to this research.

This organization want to give a new impulse to the spherule research, that is very interesting for providing new readings’ elements about the Earth evolution.

The Earth and the life on it have a relationship with the cosmos, even if sometimes it’s neglected, or if it’s forgotten.

The motto of the TECOS research group is "Quae ratiost igitur ??" (Lucretio, De Rerum Natura, VI, 848 – 861): what is this science?? This motto must direct us to research and individuate the origin of the "spherules".


Spherules are already known and have been studied from certain regions of the Earth: The Baltic and Scandinavian area, Central Europe, Mediterranean region, Central and Southern Africa, Central and Eastern Asia, North America, Caribbean region, Brazil, Australia, Antarctica. From these regions spherules are known in various chronologically well documented formations with a wide range in spherule abundance. The occasion to investigate the possibilities to use the spherule occurrences as a new tool for the geological correlation is given.


The main genetic types of spherules:

I. Extraterrestrial spherules.

1 Spherules born from exploded meteorites in the high atmosphere.

2 Interplanetary dust spherules

3 Interstellar dust spherules (came from supernovae, eruptions of galactic


II. Terrestrial spherules.

1. Volcanic spherules,

2. Spherules of diagenic origin,

3. Spherules of biogenic origin,

  1. Spherules of human activity (pollution).
  2. Spherules of industrial origin (clay spheres for tiles, etc.)

III. Impact spherules.

Spherules issued from impacts of crater producing meteorites, as

dissipated melt.

The investigations will be focused on the genetic classification of spherules, and the investigation of their distribution in various terrestrial strata. The program will set as aim the global investigations.

The first step in the worldwide investigations is to find reliable methods to distinguish the various genetic types. It seems that the impact and extraterrestrial types would be the global tools for correlation, because the related events are globally detected. (Great impacts, traversing meteorite and extraterrestrial dust clouds).

The realization of an Internet site, a newsgroup for discussing about the spheres and the acquisition of PC cams for international videoconferences will be the primary objective for the diffusion of the knowledge and ideas of TECOS.

Moreover it will be important the realization of a CD – ROM (with an annual revision), for a large diffusion, with the full international bibliography about the spherule research and a first photo archive of the most important microspherule shapes.

The complex comparative studies of the spherules and their host sediments are very important for a global correlation program.

The research of the spherules has involved a large interdisciplinary collaboration, including stratigraphy, geochemistry, (micro)mineralogy, micropaleontology, paleomagnetic research, planetology, meteoritics, meteorology, glaciology and sedimentology in general. Radiometric and isotopic research will certainly gain in importance in the future investigation of spherules.

From the point of view of extraterrestrial geology micrometeorites and extraterrestrial spherules are at the present time, the only real tools for interplanetary correlation, since in all likelihood they have to occur on every planet of the Solar System.

During the history of the Earth the global occurrence of spherules seems to have altogether six abundance peaks (by extrapolation of certain sporadic local result):

Late Devonian

Permian-Triassic transition

Triassic-Jurassic transition

K/T boundary

Upper Eocene


All investigators of spherules are asked to kindly reconsider their contacts all over the world and suggest us names and addresses of possible participants. It is obvious that the investigation of the spherules has to be global. This program is aimed at developing and organizing these global investigations. By way of this program the first international organization of a new scientific field will be organized.

The realization of common research programs, international and/or local workshops and congresses, editing of common books, works and articles on the most important international papers must be the primary impulse of all the TECOS members.

Moreover the searching of new partnerships with other countries (i.e. Africa nations) it will be very important.

Last, but not least, the economic base of the TECOS is the column of the organization: the funds for the research will permit to the entire TECOS members to can arrive easily and rapidly to the targets.


The TECOS is the following program of the IGCP 384: „Impact and Extraterrestrial Spherules" (1995-1999).


"Zero" Meeting of IGCP 384: Budapest, Hungary, 31 Oct.—1 Nov. 1994: "Spherulites (micrometeorites) in the Carpathian Basin", with abstract and proceeding volume.

"Half" Meeting of IGCP 384: Debrecen, Hungary, 2—4 March: "Spherulites and (Palaeo) ecology" with abstract volume.

Third Preparatory Meeting of IGCP 384: Baia Mare, Romania, 25—29 August 1995, with abstract and proceeding volume.

Second Budapest International Meeting on Spherules: Budapest, Hungary, 14—16 November 1995, with abstract and proceeding volume.

First General Meeting of the IGCP 384: Beijing, China, 8 August 1996.

TISS (Terrestrial Impacts and Spherules Symposium): Tokyo, Japan, 13-14 June 1997, with abstract volume.

Second General Meeting of the IGCP 384: Tallinn, Estonia, 1-4 July 1997, with abstract volume.

Eger Meeting on Spherules: Eger, Hungary, 9-13 July 1997, with abstract volume.

IMA 98 Symposium: Toronto, Canada, „Extraterrestrial Mineralogy" section, with abstract volume.

Third general Meeting of the IGCP 384: Budapest, Hungary, 28 September - 2 October 1998, with abstract and proceeding volume.

First Meeting of TECOS: Castelnovo, Italy, 6-10 September 1999, with abstract and proceeding volume.


Founding Members


Albertao Gilberto (Brazil)

Azmi Rafat (India)

Cara Fathbarda (Albania)

Colombetti Alessandro (Italy)

Detre Csaba (Hungary)

Diaz Consuelo (Cuba)

Don Gyorgy (Hungary)

Farkas Agnes (Hungary)

Ferrari Gabriella (Italy)

Glass Billy (USA)

Glikson Andrew (Australia)

Hoxha Jakup (Albania)

Isachsen Yngvar (USA)

Marini Francois (France)

Matsuda Jun-ichi (Japan)

Miono Shigeyoshi (japan)

Miura Yasunori (Japan)

Montanari Alessandro (Italy)

Nicolodi Francesco (Italy)

Ouyang Ziyuan (China)

Pohl Helle (Estonia)

Raukas Anto (Estonia)

Solt Peter (Hungary)

Thery Jan Michael (France)

Vetvicka Ivan (Czech Republic)

Yano Hajime (Japan)

Zolensky Michael (USA)


Scientific Committee of TECOS international research programme

President: Alessandro Colombetti (Italy)

General Secretary: Francesco Nicolodi (Italy)

Scientific Committee

Gilberto Albertao (Brazil)

Rafat Azmi (India)

Csaba Detre (Hungary)

Consuelo Diaz (Cuba)

Billy Glass (USA)

Andrew Glikson (Australia)

Francois Marini (France)

Jun-ichi Matsuda (Japan)

Shigeoyoshi Miono (Japan)

Yasunori Miura (Japan)

Ziyuan Ouyang (China)

Anto Raukas (Estonia)

Hajime Yano (Japan)

Michael Zolensky (USA)