Shock Metamorphism of Deformed Quartz

Andrew J. Gratz, James Tyburczy, John Christie, Thomas Ahrens, Peter Pongratz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Deformed, synthetic quartz containing a dislocation density of 2.9 ± 1.9 × 108/cm2 and abundant bubbles and small inclusions was shocked to peak pressures of 12 and 24 GPa. The resultant material was inhomogeneously deformed and extremely fractured. The 12 GPa sample contained large regions lacking apparent shock deformation, suggesting that the original microstructure of a quartz target may be distinguished in low-stress shocks with minimal annealing. No change in dislocation density was caused by shock loading except in regions containing shock lamellae, where the dislocation density was lowered. Generally the same types of microstructures were induced by shock of deformed quartz as by shock of relatively defect-free as-grown crystals. Glass-filled veins were abundant, especially at lower stresses, and contained angular fragments of quartz welded together. Microfaults formed on {Mathematical expression} and {Mathematical expression}, inclined close to 45° to the shock propagation direction. Curviplanar features occurred in groups, with contrast indicating Moiré patterns, twins, and stacking faults or related structures; most were interpreted as fractures, possibly welded together with glass. Regions containing shock lamellae sets were present. Lamellae sets were uncommon at 12 GPa, but distributed every few microns at 24 GPa. Lamellae occurred in a spectrum of habits ranging from 35-1500 Å in thickness, from 35 Å upward in spacing, and from closely-packed parallel sets to networks of diverse orientations; some lamellae were not parallel-sided, but wedge-shaped with basal and {Mathematical expression} edges, Thick lamellae were connected to glassy veins, and the wedge-shaped type generally narrowed away from veins; they also subdivided and merged along their length. Lamellae were dominantly basal at 12 GPa, and at 24 GPa on {Mathematical expression}, with poles normal to the shock direction. We propose that they are not shear features, but rather glass-filled tensile fractures. Vitrification was widespread, especially at 24 GPa, apparently more so than in shock of as-grown material. This suggests that index of refraction is not an appropriate shock paleopiezometer, as it depends on the defect structure of the starting material. Neither lamella width nor spacing was correlated with shock stress; however, the criterion of multiple glass lamellae sets as indications of shock deformation and its intensity are consistent with our measurements. Dislocation density was lowered in lamellae-containing and glassy areas, possibly removed by nucleation of and absorption by lamellae. No high-pressure phases were observed. Based on the complete set of observed features, it appears that shock deformation in quartz is primarily brittle-melt deformation, with an important role played by hot, fluid silica.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of Minerals
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Shock Metamorphism of Deformed Quartz'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this