Chemical modification of projectile residues and target material in a MEMIN cratering experiment

Authors

  • Matthias EBERT,

    Corresponding author
    1. Museum für Naturkunde (MfN), Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Invalidenstraße 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
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  • Lutz HECHT,

    1. Museum für Naturkunde (MfN), Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Invalidenstraße 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
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  • Alexander DEUTSCH,

    1. Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU), Wilhelm-Klemm-Str. 10, D-48149 Münster, Germany
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  • Thomas KENKMANN

    1. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (ALU), Albertstr. 23-B, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany
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Corresponding author. E-mail: matthias.ebert@mfn-berlin.de

Abstract

Abstract– In the context of the MEMIN project, a hypervelocity cratering experiment has been performed using a sphere of the iron meteorite Campo del Cielo as projectile accelerated to 4.56 km s−1, and a block of Seeberger sandstone as target material. The ejecta, collected in a newly designed catcher, are represented by (1) weakly deformed, (2) highly deformed, and (3) highly shocked material. The latter shows shock-metamorphic features such as planar deformation features (PDF) in quartz, formation of diaplectic quartz glass, partial melting of the sandstone, and partially molten projectile, mixed mechanically and chemically with target melt. During mixing of projectile and target melts, the Fe of the projectile is preferentially partitioned into target melt to a greater degree than Ni and Co yielding a Fe/Ni that is generally higher than Fe/Ni in the projectile. This fractionation results from the differing siderophile properties, specifically from differences in reactivity of Fe, Ni, and Co with oxygen during projectile-target interaction. Projectile matter was also detected in shocked quartz grains. The average Fe/Ni of quartz with PDF (about 20) and of silica glasses (about 24) are in contrast to the average sandstone ratio (about 422), but resembles the Fe/Ni-ratio of the projectile (about 14). We briefly discuss possible reasons of projectile melting and vaporization in the experiment, in which the calculated maximum shock pressure does not exceed 55 GPa.

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