DYMAT 2009
Volume 2, 2009
DYMAT 2009 - 9th International Conference on the Mechanical and Physical Behaviour of Materials under Dynamic Loading
Page(s) 1471 - 1477
Section Numerical Simulations
Published online 15 September 2009
DYMAT 2009 (2009) 1471-1477
DOI: 10.1051/dymat/2009208

Meteorite impact shatter cones – adiabatic shear bands?

E. Dawson

URS Corporation, 915 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, USA

Published online: 15 September 2009

Shatter cones are distinctive, striated, conical fractures found in shocked rocks at meteorite impact structures. They are estimated to form at shock pressures from 2 to 25 GPa and range in size from a few millimeters up to more than 10 meters in length. Axes of the cones are aligned with the direction of maximum shock compression. Although shatter cones have been used for decades as a key field indicator to identify impact sites, the mechanism by which they form is not well understood. Evidence of extreme heating localized at shatter cone surfaces, along with their orientation along planes which experience maximum shear stress during shock compression, suggest that the cones may form by adiabatic shear banding. This possibility is explored through 3D numerical simulations using a crack band model – a technique for simulating fracture or shear banding with a continuum, strain softening, elasto-plastic model. Simulations of planar, plastic shocks show that a small flaw or inhomogeneity can trigger the formation of a conical shear band with apex pointing toward the shock source. These results suggest that adiabatic shear banding is a plausible formation mechanism for shatter cones.

© EDP Sciences 2009