Abstract

A shock-induced polymorph (TiO2 II) of anatase and rutile has been identified in breccias from the late Eocene Chesapeake Bay impact structure. The breccia samples are from a recent, partially cored test hole in the central uplift at Cape Charles, Virginia. The drill cores from 744 to 823 m depth consist of suevitic crystalline-clast breccia and brecciated cataclastic gneiss in which the TiO2 phases anatase and rutile are common accessory minerals. Electron-microprobe imaging and laser Raman spectroscopy of TiO2 crystals, and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) of mineral concentrates, confirm that a high-pressure, α-PbO2 structured polymorph of TiO2 (TiO2 II) coexists with anatase and rutile in matrix-hosted crystals and in inclusions within chlorite. Raman spectra of this polymorph include strong bands at wavenumbers (cm−1) 175, 281, 315, 342, 356, 425, 531, 571, and 604; they appear with anatase bands at 397, 515, and 634 cm−1, and rutile bands at 441 and 608 cm−1. XRD patterns reveal 12 lines from the polymorph that do not significantly interfere with those of anatase or rutile, and are consistent with the TiO2 II that was first reported to occur naturally as a shock-induced phase in rutile from the Ries crater in Germany. The recognition here of a second natural shock-induced occurrence of TiO2 II suggests that its presence in rocks that have not been subjected to ultrahigh-pressure regional metamorphism can be a diagnostic indicator for confirmation of suspected impact structures.

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