Shatter cones are unique geological structures formed exclusively under intense shock pressures, typically following meteorite impacts or nuclear explosions. They are created when shockwaves strong enough to compress rock travel through the ground. The result is conical-shaped deformation of rock, with striated or grooved surfaces that radiate outwards, curving from the tip of the cone towards the base.
Shatter cones can vary widely in size, ranging from just a few centimeters up to several meters. The cone’s pointed tip can often provide clues about the direction of the shock wave. Their occurrence not only signals a high-energy event but also provides invaluable insights into the Earth’s history, helping geologists piece together past cosmic collisions.