Estimating shock pressures based on high-pressure minerals in shock-induced melt veins of L chondrites




Abstract— Here we report the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations of the mineral assemblages and textures in shock-induced melt veins from seven L chondrites of shock stages ranging from S3 to S6. The mineral assemblages combined with phase equilibrium data are used to constrain the crystallization pressures, which can be used to constrain shock pressure in some cases. Thick melt veins in the Tenham L6 chondrite contain majorite and magnesiowüstite in the center, and ringwoodite, akimotoite, vitrified silicate-perovskite, and majorite in the edge of the vein, indicating crystallization pressure of ˜25 GPa. However, very thin melt veins (5–30 μm wide) in Tenham contain glass, olivine, clinopyroxene, and ringwoodite, suggesting crystallization during transient low-pressure excursions as the shock pressure equilibrated to a continuum level. Melt veins of Umbarger include ringwoodite, akimotoite, and clinopyroxene in the vein matrix, and Fe2SiO4-spinel and stishovite in SiO2-FeO-rich melt, indicating a crystallization pressure of ˜18 GPa. The silicate melt veins in Roy contain majorite plus ringwoodite, indicating pressure of ˜20 GPa. Melt veins of Ramsdorf and Nakhon Pathon contain olivine and clinoenstatite, indicating pressure of less than 15 GPa. Melt veins of Kunashak and La Lande include albite and olivine, indicating crystallization at less than 2.5 GPa. Based upon the assemblages observed, crystallization of shock veins can occur before, during, or after pressure release. When the assemblage consists of high-pressure minerals and that assemblage is constant across a larger melt vein or pocket, the crystallization pressure represents the equilibrium shock pressure.