Ultrafast olivine-ringwoodite transformation during shock compressionOPEN ACCESS 

Takuo Okuchi, Yusuke Seto, Naotaka Tomioka, Takeshi Matsuoka, Bruno Albertazzi, Nicholas J. Hartley, Yuichi Inubushi, Kento Katagiri, Ryosuke Kodama, Tatiana A. Pikuz, Narangoo Purevjav, Kohei Miyanishi, Tomoko Sato, Toshimori Sekine, Keiichi Sueda, Kazuo A. Tanaka, Yoshinori Tange, Tadashi Togashi, Yuhei Umeda, Toshinori Yabuuchi, Makina Yabashi & Norimasa Ozaki

Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 4305 (2021)


“Meteorites from interplanetary space often include high-pressure polymorphs of their constituent minerals, which provide records of past hypervelocity collisions. These collisions were expected to occur between kilometre-sized asteroids, generating transient high-pressure states lasting for several seconds to facilitate mineral transformations across the relevant phase boundaries. However, their mechanisms in such a short timescale were never experimentally evaluated and remained speculative. Here, we show a nanosecond transformation mechanism yielding ringwoodite, which is the most typical high-pressure mineral in meteorites. An olivine crystal was shock-compressed by a focused high-power laser pulse, and the transformation was time-resolved by femtosecond diffractometry using an X-ray free electron laser. Our results show the formation of ringwoodite through a faster, diffusionless process, suggesting that ringwoodite can form from collisions between much smaller bodies, such as metre to submetre-sized asteroids, at common relative velocities. Even nominally unshocked meteorites could therefore contain signatures of high-pressure states from past collisions.”