A Metallographic Study of the Disruption of the Cañon Diablo projectile

H. J. Axon and W. R. D. Couper
Metallurgy Department, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL

Summary: A metallographic investigation of macro- and micro-structures, supported by microprobe examination, has been made on similarly sized (< ca. 200 g) individual Cañon Diablo meteorites of rim or plains type. Plains type specimens show heat alteration zones of the ablation type. They are extensively cracked in a brittle manner and in some instances the cracks are penetrated by ablation melt product. In all cases the cracks are now penetrated by terrestrial corrosion. Cohenite and schreibersite are cracked in a brittle manner. By contrast the rim type specimens are remarkably free of internal cracking or corrosion penetration. Instead the cohenite, schreibersite, taenite, and kamacite are transected by slip faults or shear displacements along the line of which all phases appear to have slipped in a non-brittle manner. These specimens have all been subject to shock loading and particular attention is paid to the effects of shock on sphalerite, on cloudy taenite, and on martensitic plessite.

Plains specimens have broken from the original projectile in a brittle manner well above the earth's surface. Rim specimens have been scabbed from the rear of the projectile as it penetrated the earth's surface. Some of the rim specimens show signs of being heated by the blast of the crater-forming explosion.

Mineralogical Magazine; December 1976 v. 40; no. 316; p. 827-841; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1976.040.316.03
© 1976, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (www.minersoc.org)