Heat diffusion in numerically shocked ordinary chondrites and its contribution to shock meltingOPEN ACCESS 

Juulia-Gabrielle Moreau, Sabrina Schwinger

Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Available online 10 December 2020



• Heat diffusion is major factor for melting metals in shock metamorphosed chondrites
• Pre-shock porosity of silicates affects the outcome of post-shock heat diffusion
• Inclusion size in eutectic metal/iron sulfide mixtures affects degree of melting
• Iron sulfide/metal melt vein formation depends on cooling rates after shock heating
• Heat diffusion depends on shock pulse duration and hence on impact size”

“High pressure shock metamorphism in ordinary chondrites involves heating and melting of individual phases from shock entropy, pore collapse, frictional heating, and heat transfer. Numerical models using shock physics codes have recently been used to comprehend the mechanism of shock heating and melting in multiphase mesoscale models. Such models suggest that the formation of sulfide and metal melt veins in ordinary chondrites (shock-darkening) can be explained by preferential heating and melting of iron and iron sulfides during shock. However, those models usually dismissed heat transfer between heterogeneously shock heated phases. This leads to an underestimation of the degree of melting in phases that experienced low degrees of shock heating (e.g. iron metal) but are in direct contact with strongly shock heated phases (e.g. iron sulfides). In our study, we implemented a finite difference 2-D heat diffusion code to model heat diffusion among neighboring grains in shock heated multiphase meshes that represent typical textural relations of silicate, sulfide and metal grains in ordinary chondrites. Post-shock temperature maps for each textural model were calculated using the iSALE shock physics code and used as input for the diffusion code. We find that heat diffusion, not initial shock heating, is the principal cause for heating and melting of metals in eutectic contact with iron sulfides at ~50 GPa of pressure. In addition we study the effects of iron and troilite grain sizes, shock pressures and pre-shock porosities of the silicate matrix, and discuss the preservation of melt allowing melt migration in shock-darkened meteorites and the observation of metal-silicate intermixed melting. With our work, we demonstrate that the consideration of heat diffusion during and after shock is crucial for a better understanding of melting features in both experimentally and naturally shocked ordinary chondrites.”