The study of large meteorite impacts on Earth is a relatively new area of geoscience that has gathered momentum since the late 1970s.
Tektites are categorised by their shape and are referred to as cores, buttons, boats, lenses, dumb-bells, discs, teardrops and fragments. They are shaped by their passage through the atmosphere when they were formed and the length of passage through the atmosphere have largely determined their shape and size.
Museum Victoria has an extensive collection of Australian tektites (australites) as well as representative samples from other major global strewn fields. The collection also contains some impactite rocks from a variety of large meteorite-impact craters.
The collection is considered to be of international significance as the key component of the collection (approximately 3000 tektites) was bequeathed by Dr George Baker (formerly of CSIRO Minerals), a pioneer researcher on tektites and impactites.
Baker’s work stimulated research on the origins of tektites and the nature of major meteorite impacts as well as providing data for the modelling of the Apollo Lunar mission re-entry vehicles. In addition, specimens in the collection have provided key data for solving the discrepancy between the age of the tektites and the apparent age of the recovery sites in Victoria.