Pseudotachylites Generated in Shock Experiments: Implications for Impact Cratering Products and Processes

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Science  13 Oct 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5234, pp. 281-283
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5234.281


Laboratory hypervelocity impact experiments in which quartz was shock-loaded from 42 to 56 gigapascals imply that type A pseudotachylites form by strain heating and contribute to the loss of strength of rocks in the central uplift of large impact structures. Shock impedance-matched aluminum sample containers, in contrast to steel containers, produced nearly single-wave pressure loading, and enhanced deformation, of silicate samples. Strain heating may act with shock heating to devolatilize planetary materials and destroy extraterrestrial organic material in an impact.