Browsing Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 38, Number 10 (2003) by Subjects
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Impact-induced frictional melting in ordinary chondrites: A mechanism for deformation, darkening, and vein formationHigh speed friction experiments have been performed on the ordinary chondrites El Hammami (H5, S2) and Sahara 97001 (L6, S3) using an axial friction-welding apparatus. Each sample was subjected to a strain rate of 103 to 104 s-1, which generated 250 to 500 micrometer-deep darkened zones on each sample cube. Thin section analyses reveal that the darkened areas are composed of silicate glass and mineral fragments intermingled with dispersed submicron-size FeNi and FeS blebs. Fracturing of mineral grains and the formation of tiny metallic veins define the extent of deformation beyond the darkened shear zone. These features are not present in the original meteorites. The shear zones and tiny veins are quite similar to certain vein systems seen in naturally deformed ordinary chondrites. The experiments show that shock deformation is not required for the formation of melt veins and darkening in ordinary chondrites. Therefore, the presence of melt veins and darkening does not imply that an ordinary chondrite has undergone severe shock deformation. In fact, high strain rate deformation and frictional melting are especially important for the formation of veins at low shock pressures.