The University of Arizona

Identification of mineral impactors in hypervelocity impact craters in aluminum by Raman spectroscopy of residues

M. J. BURCHELL, N. J. FOSTER, A. T. KEARSLEY, J. A. CREIGHTON

Abstract


Here we demonstrate the use of Raman spectroscopy techniques to identify mineral particle fragments after their impact into aluminum foil at ~6 km s?^(-1). Samples of six minerals (olivine, rhodonite, enstatite, diopside, wollastonite, and lizardite) were fired into aluminum foil and the resulting impact craters were studied with a HeNe laser connected to a Raman spectrometer. Raman spectra similar to those of the raw mineral grains were obtained from the craters for impacts by olivine, rhodonite, enstatite, wollastonite, and diopside, but no Raman signals were found from lizardite after impact. In general, the impactors do not survive completely intact, but are fragmented into smaller fractions that retain the structure of the original body. Combined with evidence for SEM and FIB studies, this suggests that in most cases the fragments are relatively unaltered during impact. The survival of identifiable projectile fragments after impact at ~6 km s^(-1) is thus established in general, but may not apply to all minerals. Where survival has occurred, the use of Raman spectroscopic techniques for identifying minerals after hypervelocity impacts into a metallic target is also demonstrated.

Keywords


spectroscopy;Stardust mission;impact microcraters;shock melt

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