The moon

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 214–249

Shock melting and vaporization of lunar rocks and minerals

  • Thomas J. Ahrens
  • John D. O'Keefe

DOI: 10.1007/BF00562927

Cite this article as:
Ahrens, T.J. & O'Keefe, J.D. The Moon (1972) 4: 214. doi:10.1007/BF00562927


The entropy associated with the thermodynamic states produced by hypervelocity meteoroid impacts at various velocities are calculated for a series of lunar rocks and minerals and compared with the entropy values required for melting and vaporization.

Taking into account shock-induced phase changes in the silicates, we calculate that iron meteorites impacting at speeds varying from 4 to 6 km/s will produce shock melting in quartz, plagioclase, olivine, and pyroxene. Although calculated with less certainty, impact speeds required for incipient vaporization vary from ~ 7 to 11 km/s for the range of minerals going from quartz to periclase for aluminum (silicate-like) projectiles. The impact velocities which are required to induce melting in a soil, are calculated to be in the range of 3 to 4 km/s, provided thermal equilibrium is achieved in the shock state.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Ahrens
    • 1
  • John D. O'Keefe
    • 2
  1. 1.Seismological LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Planetary and Space SciencesUniversity of Calif.Los AngelesUSA

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