The hypervelocity impact of extraterrestrial objects causes unequivocal changes in the target due to extreme deformation rates, pressures up to hundreds of gigapascals, and postshock temperatures that may even vaporize silicates. This article introduces the basic principles of shock compression, as required to understand the formation and geological significance of shock-metamorphic effects in minerals. Special emphasis is placed on the formation of high-pressure phases such as stishovite and diamond as well as on the decomposition of carbonates.

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