The observation reveals an intermediate state in quartz that solves a decades-old mystery about the formation of characteristic lamellae in material hit by an asteroid."Nevertheless, craters are often difficult to detect on Earth, because erosion, weathering and plate tectonics cause them to disappear over millions of years," Langenhorst explains.The simulated asteroid impact creates tiny glass lamellae in the quartz crystals studied, only tens of nanometers wide, which are only visible under the electron microscope."For decades, such lamellae have been used to detect and analyze asteroid impacts," Langenhorst points out, "But only now can we accurately explain and understand their formation."What is important, however, is precisely the pressure range in which minerals undergo characteristic changes in the solid state, and that's what we studied in this case."More information: Christoph Otzen et al, Evidence for a rosiaite-structured high-pressure silica phase and its relation to lamellar amorphization in quartz, Nature Communications(2023).