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Impact and shock metamorphism

Hyper-velocity impacts produce shock waves that cause impact or shock metamorphism of minerals and rocks. Especially minerals show characteristic shock effects like deformation, phase transformation, melting or vaporization. Shock effects are important criteria for the proof of questionable impact craters and the barometry of shocked minerals. The combination of shock effects occurring in different minerals is used for the classification of impact metamorphism in rocks and meteorites.

In this field of research naturally shocked minerals and rocks from impact craters and meteorites are studies, as well as shock experiments are performed for the pressure-controlled generation of shock effects. These shock effects are investigated with mineralogical methods like optical microscopy, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

The goal of these investigations is the elucidation of the formation mechanism of shock effects in different minerals, their pressure calibration, and hence the improvement of the shock classification of rocks and meteorites.


Ernst-Mach-Institut, Freiburg