A Post-Stishovite SiO2 Polymorph in the Meteorite Shergotty: Implications for Impact Events

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Science  28 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5419, pp. 1511-1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5419.1511

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Transmission electron microscopy and electron diffraction show that the martian meteorite Shergotty, a shocked achondrite, contains a dense orthorhombic SiO2 phase similar to post-stishovite SiO2 with the α-PbO2 structure. If an SiO2 mineral exists in Earth's lower mantle, it would probably occur in a post-stishovite SiO2 structure. The presence of such a high-density polymorph in a shocked sample indicates that post-stishovite SiO2 structures may be used as indicators of extreme shock pressures.

  • Present address: Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, J.-Becher-Weg 27, 55128 Mainz, Germany.

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