The microstructural response of quartz and feldspar under shock loading at variable temperatures


  • Alan R. Huffman,

  • J. Michael Brown,

  • Neville L. Carter,

  • W. Uwe Reimold


Shock recovery experiments were carried out on Westerly granite and Hospital Hill quartzite targets in the peak pressure range 8 to 25 GPa, preshock temperatures of 25°, 450°, and 750°C and pulse durations of 2 to 7 μs using internally heated momentum traps and explosive plane wave generators. Optical and transmission electron microscopy analyses of quartz and feldspar shocked at 25°C revealed the previously documented progression, with increasing pressure: (1) fracturing; (2) planar fractures and shock mosaicism; (3) shock mosaicism and planar deformation features (PDFs); and (4) isotropization. This same sequence is observed for experiments at elevated preshock temperature but with specific microstructures occurring at lower pressures than those in previous experiments at room temperature. At 750°C, strong shock mosaicism, partially thermally recovered, is characteristic of feldspar shocked to 8 GPa, whereas 15 GPa is required for its development in quartz and for the generation of PDFs in both minerals. The results suggest that threshold pressures for formation of the various microstructures and phases are expected to vary systematically as a function of the preshock temperature of the target material. We suggest that PDFs are generated in the shock transition by progressive, heterogeneous, phase transformation of the crystal structure to form dense glass or high pressure polymorphs. The onset pressures for PDFs in specific crystallographic orientations is not influenced strongly by temperature, but the character of the PDFs does change as preshock temperature is increased at the same peak shock stress. The change from multiple sets of thin PDFs at low temperature to thicker single sets of PDFs at moderate temperature, and finally to complete isotropization at high temperatures, reflects a change in the phase transformation mechanism as a function of temperature. In contrast, development of shock mosaicism in quartz and feldspar occurs throughout the duration of shock loading and is better developed at elevated temperatures where the kinetics are enhanced by the additional thermal energy in the target.