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Impact cratering and spall failure of gabbro

Lange, Manfred A. and Ahrens, Thomas J. and Boslough, Mark B. (1984) Impact cratering and spall failure of gabbro. Icarus, 58 (3). pp. 383-395. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(84)90084-8.

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Both hypervelocity impact and dynamic spall experiments were carried out on a series of well-indurated samples of gabbro to examine the relation between spall strength and maximum spall ejecta thickness. The impact experiments carried out with 0.04- to 0.2-g, 5- to 6-km/sec projectiles produced decimeter- to centimeter-sized craters and demonstrated crater efficiencies of 6 × 10^(−9) g/erg, an order of magnitude greater than in metal and some two to three times that of previous experiments on less strong igneous rocks. Most of the crater volume (some 60 to 80%) is due to spall failure. Distribution of cumulative fragment number, as a function of mass of fragments with masses greater than 0.1 g yield values of b = d(log N_f)/d log(m) −0.5 −0.6, where N is the cumulative number of fragments and m is the mass of fragments. These values are in agreement or slightly higher than those obtained for less strong rocks and indicate that a large fraction of the ejecta resides in a few large fragments. The large fragments are plate-like with mean values of B/A and C/A 0.8 0.2, respectively (A = long, B = intermediate, and C = short fragment axes). The small equant-dimensioned fragments (with mass < 0.1 g and B ∼ 0.1 mm) represent material which has been subjected to shear failure. The dynamic tensile strength of San Marcos gabbro was determined at strain rates of 10^4 to 10^5 sec^(−1) to be 147 ± 9 MPa. This is 3 to 10 times greater than inferred from quasi-static (strain rate 10^0 sec^(−1)) loading experiments. Utilizing these parameters in a continuum fracture model predicts a tensile strength of σ_ m χ^[0.25-0.3], where ε is strain rate. It is suggested that the high spall strength of basic igneous rocks gives rise to enhanced cratering efficiencies due to spall in the <10^2-m crater diameter strength-dominated regime. Although the impact spall mechanism can enhance cratering efficiencies it is unclear that resulting spall fragments achieve sufficient velocities such that fragments of basic rocks can escape from the surfaces of planets such as the Moon or Mars.

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Additional Information:© 1984 by Academic Press, Inc. Received September 2, 1983; revised January 27. 1984. We thank R. Weldon for collaboration in carrying out the impact experiments at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Facility. We appreciate the planning and execution of the tensile strength experiments of S. N. Cohn and R. Manning and the technical assistance of E. Gelle and M. Long. M. Lange was supported by a stipend from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Work was supported by NASA Grant NGL-05-002-105 and NASA Grant NSG 7129. This paper is contribution No. 3943, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences3943
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Official Citation:Lange, M. A., Ahrens, T. J., & Boslough, M. B. (1984). Impact cratering and spall failure of gabbro. Icarus, 58(3), 383-395. doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51006
Deposited By: Joanne McCole
Deposited On:29 Oct 2014 19:59
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:04

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