Shock in meteorite impacts may transform zircon (ZrSiO4) into a denser polymorph, reidite, but the mechanism and significance of this transformation has been obscured by discrepancies between observations on natural and experimental samples.

In her manuscript Claudia Stangarone use DFT simulations of the structures of zircon and reidite to show that above 20 GPa zircon undergoes a displacive phase transition to a new polymorph which may trigger the reconstructive transformation to reidite.

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The article can be downloaded from the American Mineralogist website at this link.