Shock-induced deformation of Shergottites: Shock-pressures and perturbations of magmatic ages on Mars

Ahmed El Goresy, Ph Gillet, M. Miyahara, E. Ohtani, S. Ozawa, P. Beck, G. Montagnac

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79 Citations (Scopus)


Shergottites and Chassignites practiced major deformation effects whose nature, magnitude and relevance were controversially evaluated and disputatively debated. Our studies of many shocked shergottites present, contrary to numerous previous reports, ample evidence for pervasive shock-induced melting amounting of at least 23vol.% of the shergottite consisting of maskelynite and pyrrhotite, partial melting of pyroxene, titanomagnetite, ilmenite and finding of several high-pressure polymorphs and pressure-induced dissociation reactions. Our results cast considerable doubt on using the refractive index (RI) or cathodoluminescence (CL) spectra of maskelynite, in estimating the magnitudes of peak-shock pressure in both shergottites and ordinary chondrites. RI of maskelynite was set after quenching of the feldspar liquid before decompression to maskelynite glass followed by glass relaxation after decompression at the closure temperature of relaxation. The RI procedure widely practiced in the past 38years revealed unrealistic very high-pressure estimates discrepant with the high-pressure mineral inventory in shocked shergottites and ordinary chondrites and with results obtained by robust laboratory static experiments. Shergottites contain the silica high-pressure polymorphs: the scrutinyite-structured polymorph seifertite, a monoclinic ultra dense polymorph of silica with ZrO2-structure, stishovite, a dense liquidus assemblage consisting of stishovite+Na-hexa-aluminosilicate (Na-CAS) and both K-lingunite and Ca-lingunite. Applying individual high-pressure silica polymorphs alone like stishovite, to estimate the equilibrium shock pressure, is inadequate due to the considerable shift of their nominal upper pressure bounds intrinsically induced by spatially variable absorptions of minor oxides like Al2O3, Na2O, FeO, MgO and TiO2. This practice revealed variable pressure estimates even within the same shergottite subjected to the same peak-shock pressure. Occurrence of Na-CAS+stishovite, lack of the NaAlSiO4 Ca-ferrite structured polymorph or jadeite indicates that the peak-shock pressures barely exceeded 22GPa. We present convincing and ample evidence refuting the claim that the shock-induced high-pressure inventory in shergottites and ordinary chondrites are disequilibrium assemblages resulted from local pressure spikes in excess of 80GPa and during the decompression stage. Such scenario calls for a series of incomplete and quenched retrograde reactions starting with the crystallization of Mg-silicate perovskite+magnesiowüstite, if the claimed peak-shock pressure was in excess of 80GPa. This would be followed by replacement of this pair by majorite-pyropess+magnesiowüstite or akimotoite+magnesiowüstite below 23GPa and 2000°C, polycrystalline ringwoodite above 16GPa, respectively and finally replacement by polycrystalline olivine below 16GPa. Such incomplete retrograde reactions were never encountered in any shergottite, chassignite or shocked ordinary chondrite so far. Olivine-ringwoodite phase transformation in the L6 Y-791384 commences with the coherent mechanism producing ringwoodite lamellae with their (111) planes parallel to the (100) of olivine followed by the incoherent mechanism due to build up of strain in the parental olivine. This is in accord with the olivine-ringwoodite settings produced in static laboratory experiments in a multi-anvil device. Olivine-ringwoodite phase transitions were also encountered in comparable settings in the shergottite NWA 1068. Application of experimentally obtained kinetic parameters of the olivine-ringwoodite phase transitions reveals possible duration of the natural dynamic events up to few seconds thus unambiguously refuting the claimed disequilibrium decompression mechanism.The shock-induced pervasive melting of labradorite, pyrrhotite, titanomagnetite, ilmenite and partial melting of clinopyroxene strongly suggests shock-induced partial to complete resetting of the Ar-Ar, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Re-Os, U-Pb and Lu-Hf radiometric systems. This also casts considerable doubt on the radiometric ages shorter than 575. Ma reported in the past 38. years to allegedly be the igneous crystallization ages. These short ages probably resulted from partial or total shock-induced age resetting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-262
Number of pages30
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 5


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