The study of shock pressure indicators can provide important clues for understanding the cratering process, though the estimation of shock pressures in weakly shocked rocks is commonly difficult. In this study, we selected a very young and well-preserved impact structure, the Lonar crater in India. The crater, devoid of any tectonic overprint, can be assumed as pristine. We used a combination of rock magnetic and microfracture studies to estimate shock pressure in the crater rim. On the basis of present results, the magnetic fabrics are interpreted to be of magmatic origin related to the Deccan basalt emplacement. The high-coercivity component of the natural remnant magnetization in the crater rim basalt is similar to that in the unshocked basalt. The lack of any shock-related magnetic overprint on the crater rim basalt is, therefore, evident in the Lonar crater.
In contrast, radial and concentric microfractures observed in basalts at the crater rim and farther away show symmetric distribution with respect to the crater. The concentric microfractures consistently overprint the radial microfractures. We infer that the radial and concentric microfractures were developed during propagation of the early compressional and the late decompressional shock wave components, respectively. The results of our rock magnetic and microfracture studies, when interpreted in light of published experimental and numerical simulation studies on the Lonar basalt, reveal that the shock pressure in the Lonar crater rim was less than 0.5 GPa but greater than 0.2 GPa. This shock pressure was high enough to produce fractures but too low to affect the magnetic fabrics. These results give new information on the relationship between shock pressure and resulting microfractures.
- Received 20 July 2014.
- Revision received 15 April 2015.
- Accepted 20 May 2015.