Formation and decomposition of vacancy-rich clinopyroxene in a shocked eucrite: New insights for multiple impact events

Ai-Cheng Zhang, Jie-Ya Li, Jia-Ni Chen, Yuan-Yun Wen, Yan-Jun Guo, Yang Li, Naoya Sakamoto, Hisayoshi Yurimoto

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Available online 23 May 2022


“Impact is a fundamental process shaping the formation and evolution of planets and asteroids. It is inevitable that some materials on the surface of planets and asteroids have been impacted for many times. However, unambiguous petrological records for multiple post-formation impact events are rarely described. Here, we report that the thin shock melt veins of the shocked eucrite Northwest Africa 8647 are dominated by a fine-grained intergranular or vermicular pigeonite and anorthite assemblage, rather than compact vacancy-rich clinopyroxene. Vacancy-rich clinopyroxene in the veins instead is ubiquitous as irregularly-shaped, relict grains surrounded by intergranular or vermicular pigeonite and anorthite assemblage. The silica fragments entrained in shock melt veins contain a coesite core and a quartz rim. The occurrences of vacancy-rich clinopyroxene and coesite can be best explained by two impact events. The first impact event produced the shock melt veins and lead to the formation of vacancy-rich clinopyroxene and coesite. The second impact event heated the fine-grained melt veins and lead to the widespread partial decomposition of vacancy-rich clinopyroxene and the partial back-transformation of coesite. This paper is the first report of the decomposition reaction of shock-induced vacancy-rich clinopyroxene in extraterrestrial materials. We propose that widespread decomposition and/or back-transformation of high-pressure minerals in shocked meteorites can be considered as important records of multiple impact events.”