Journal article

A comparative study of naturally and experimentally shocked chondrites

Samples of the Jilin H5 chondrite were experimentally shock-loaded at the peak pressures of 12, 27, 39, 53, 78, 83, 93, and 133 GPa. The aim of this study is to compare experimentally shock-induced phenomena with those in naturally shocked chondrites and to test the feasibility of experimentally calibrating naturally induced shock phenomena in Hand L-chondrites. Planar fractures, mosaicism, brecciation in olivine and pyroxene, as well as transformation of plagioclase into diaplectic glass were observed in the Jilin samples shocked at pressures lower than 53 GPa. Shock-induced chondritic melts were first obtained at P > 78 GPa and more than 60% of the whole-rock melting was achieved at P similar to 133 GPa, and that shook-induced silicate melt consists of quenched microcrystalline olivine and pyroxene, metal, troilite and vesicular glass. No high-pressure phases were observed in any of the experimentally shocked samples, neither in the deformed nor in the molten regions. Deformation features in Jilin samples shock-loaded below 53 GPa are comparable to those found in H- and L-chondrites. The mineral assemblages in the molten regions in the shocked Jilin samples are also comparable to those encountered in the heavily shocked Yanzhuang (H6) and some Antarctic H-chondrites, but differ considerably from those found in heavily shocked Sixiangkou and many other L6 chondrites. Shock melt veins in L6 chondrites contain high-pressure polymorphs of olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase and high-pressure liquidus phases, whereas shock melt veins in heavily shocked H-chondrites contain mainly low-pressure mineral assemblages. The differences in the mineral constituents of shock melt veins in L- and H-chondrites clearly indicate differences in the shock histories of these meteorites. While crystallization in the shook melt veins in L-chondrites took place at high pressures, crystallization in shock-induced melt in most H-chondrites took place after decompression. It is evident that the thickness and abundance of shock melt veins and size of melt regions is not necessarily a quantitative measure of the degree of shock. The duration of the high-pressure regime, the time of the cooling and the P-T regime during the crystallization path, and the post-shock temperatures are stringent parameters that control the evolution of the shock-induced melt. So, scaling from shock experiments on millimeter-sized samples to natural shock features on kilometer-sized asteroids poses considerable problems in quantifying the P-T conditions during natural shock events on asteroids. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


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