Throughout geologic history, it may have poured when it rained, but the record of hailstorms is nearly absent. In this study, Remin et al. explore the possible presence of hailstone impressions in strata of the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition of western Africa. Integrating experimental analyses with field observations, they describe the hailstone impressions and show features that clearly distinguish them from other sedimentary structures. Comparing these systems with modern atmospheric and sedimentologic processes can provide insights into the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere that promoted or hindered the formation of hailstones in the past, and, indirectly, the paleoclimate and paleogeography of ancient continents.
The recognition of hailstone impressions in clay-rich sediment: experimental results and relation to the Neoproterozoic case by Zbyszek Remin, Tomasz Krogulec, Tomasz Drela, and Michał Surowski