A shock recovery experiment and its implications for Mercury's surface: The effect of high pressure on porous olivine powder as a regolith analog

Aleksandra Stojic, Andreas Morlok, Peter Tollan, Tomas Kohout, Jörg Hermann, Iris Weber, Juulia-Gabrielle Moreau, Harald Hiesinger, Martin Sohn, Karin Bauch, Maximilian Reitze, Joern Helbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We conducted classic dynamic high - pressure experiments on porous San Carlos (SC) olivine powder to examine if and how different shock stages modify corresponding reflectance mid – infrared (MIR) spectra. Microscopic investigation of the thin sections produced of our shocked samples indicates local peak pressures of >60 GPa along with all lower grade shock stages. Spectral analyses of optically identified shock areas were documented and compared in terms of Christiansen Feature (CF) and the position of olivine – diagnostic Reststrahlenbands (RBs). We found that one RB (fundamental vibrations of the orthosilicate - ion) of olivine occurring at 980 cm−1 (corresponding to ≈ 10.2 μm) shows the least energetic shift in the investigated MIR spectra and could therefore serve as a proxy for the presence of olivine in remote sensing application. Furthermore, a peak located at ≈ 1060 cm−1 (≈ 9.4 μm) shows a significant intensity change probably related to the degree of shock exposure or grain orientation effects, as we observe a decline in intensity of this band from our averaged reference olivine spectra of our IRIS database (diffuse reflectance measurement) down to spectra of grains showing mosaicism and recrystallized areas. We also report the presence of a weak band in some of the olivine spectra located at ≈ 1100 cm−1 (9.1 μm) that has an influence on the position of the CF when spectral data of olivine are averaged.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114162
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 115 Astronomy, Space science
  • FTIR
  • Shock recovery
  • Olivine
  • Space weathering
  • Regolith formation

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