Despite the wide utility of apatite, Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH), in the geosciences, including tracing volatile abundances on the Moon and Mars, little is known about how the mineral responds to the extreme temperatures and pressures associated with hypervelocity impacts. To address this deficiency, we here present the first microstructural analysis and chemical mapping of shocked apatite from a terrestrial impact crater. Apatite grains from the Paasselkä impact structure, Finland, display intragrain crystal-plastic deformation as well as pervasive recrystallization—the first such report in terrestrial apatite. A partially recrystallized grain offers the opportunity to investigate the effect of shock recrystallization on the chemical composition of apatite. The recrystallized portion of the fluorapatite grain is depleted in Mg and Fe relative to the remnant non-recrystallized domain. Strikingly, the recrystallized region alone hosts inclusions of (Mg,Fe)2(PO4)F, wagnerite or a polymorph thereof. These are interpreted to be a product of phase separation during recrystallization and to be related to the reduced abundances of certain elements in the recrystallized domain. The shock-induced recrystallization of apatite, which we show to be related to changes in the mineral’s chemical composition, is not always readily visible in traditional imaging techniques (such as backscattered electron imaging of polished interior surfaces), thus highlighting the need for correlated microstructural, chemical, and isotopic studies of phosphates. This is particularly relevant for extraterrestrial phosphates that may have been exposed to impacts, and we urge the consideration of microstructural data in the interpretation of the primary or secondary nature of elemental abundances and isotopic compositions.
Recrystallization and chemical changes in apatite in response to hypervelocity impact
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Gavin G. Kenny, Andreas Karlsson, Martin Schmieder, Martin J. Whitehouse, Alexander A. Nemchin, Jeremy J. Bellucci; Recrystallization and chemical changes in apatite in response to hypervelocity impact. Geology doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G46575.1
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