Insight into the Distribution of High-pressure Shock Metamorphism in Rubble-pile AsteroidsOPEN ACCESS 

Nicole Güldemeister, Juulia-Gabrielle Moreau, Tomas Kohout, Robert Luther and Kai Wünnemann

The Planetary Science Journal, Volume 3, Number 8



“Shock metamorphism in ordinary chondrites allows for reconstructing impact events between asteroids in the main asteroid belt. Shock-darkening of ordinary chondrites occurs at the onset of complete shock melting of the rock (>70 GPa) or injection of sulfide and metal melt into the cracks within solid silicates (∼50 GPa). Darkening of ordinary chondrites masks diagnostic silicate features observed in the reflectance spectrum of S-complex asteroids so they appear similar to C/X-complex asteroids. In this work, we investigate the shock pressure and associated metamorphism pattern in rubble-pile asteroids at impact velocities of 4–10 km s−1. We use the iSALE shock physics code and implement two-dimensional models with simplified properties in order to quantify the influence of the following parameters on shock-darkening efficiency: impact velocity, porosity within the asteroid, impactor size, and ejection efficiency. We observe that, in rubble-pile asteroids, the velocity and size of the impactor are the constraining parameters in recording high-grade shock metamorphism. Yet, the recorded fraction of higher shock stages remains low (<0.2). Varying the porosity of the boulders from 10% to 30% does not significantly affect the distribution of pressure and fraction of shock-darkened material. The pressure distribution in rubble-pile asteroids is very similar to that of monolithic asteroids with the same porosity. Thus, producing significant volumes of high-degree shocked ordinary chondrites requires strong collision events (impact velocities above 8 km s−1and/or large sizes of impactors). A large amount of asteroid material escapes during an impact event (up to 90%); however, only a small portion of the escaping material is shock-darkened (6%).”