High shock pressures cause structural changes in plagioclase feldspars such as mechanical fracturing and disaggregation of the crystal lattice at submicron scales, the formation of diaplectic glass (maskelynite), and genuine melting. Past studies of visible/ near-infrared spectra of shocked feldspars demonstrated few spectral variations with pressure except for a decrease in the depth of the absorption feature near 1250-1300 nm and an overall decrease in reflectance. New visible/near-infrared spectra (400-2500 nm) of experimentally shocked (17-56 GPa) albite- and anorthite-rich rock powders demonstrate similar trends, including the loss of minor hydrated mineral bands near 1410, 1930, 2250, and 2350 nm. However, the most interesting new observations are increases in reflectance at intermediate pressures, followed by subsequent decreases in reflectance at higher pressures. The amount of internal scattering and overall sample reflectance is controlled by the relative proportions of micro-fractures, submicron grains, diaplectic glass, and melts formed during shock metamorphism. We interpret the observed reflectance increases at intermediate pressures to result from progressively larger proportions of submicron feldspar grains and diaplectic glass. The ensuing decreases in reflectance occur after diaplectic glass formation is complete and the proportion of genuine melt inclusions increases. The pressure regimes over which these reflectance variations occur differ between albite and anorthite, consistent with thermal infrared spectra of these samples and previous studies of shocked feldspars. These types of spectral variations associated with different peak shock pressures should be considered during interpretation and modeling of visible/near-infrared remotely sensed spectra of planetary and asteroidal surfaces.
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Visible/near-infrared spectra of experimentally shocked plagioclase feldspars