Plagioclase breakdown as an indicator for shock conditions of meteorites

Tomoaki Kubo, Makoto Kimura, Takumi Kato, Masayuki Nishi, Aiko Tominaga, Takumi Kikegawa, Ken Ichi Funakoshi

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Shocked meteorites that were formed when their parent body underwent shock metamorphism often contain the mineral plagioclase either in an amorphous form or in its high-pressure phase. The peak pressures in shock metamorphism can be constrained by shock-recovery experiments that determine the amorphization pressures of plagioclase. However, in these experiments temperatures have been unrealistically low and timescales much shorter than those in natural events. Here we present in situ X-ray diffraction measurements of two kinds of plagioclase feldspar in conditions of increasing pressures and temperatures. We find that the amorphization pressure of plagioclase decreases with increasing temperature, suggesting that previous studies overestimated this parameter. We also found that the mineral jadeite forms first from amorphous plagioclase, whereas the nucleation of other minerals such as stishovite or garnet is significantly delayed. The occurrence of jadeite in shocked meteorites that do not contain stishovite can therefore be explained as a result of the crystallization kinetics. We conclude that the study of plagioclase breakdown can constrain the pressure-temperature-time history of shock events, and thus help to reconstruct the collisional history of asteroids in the early Solar System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalNature Geoscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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