Ionizing shocks for plane flows with the magnetic field lying in the flow plane are considered. The gas is assumed to be electrically conducting downstream, but non-conducting upstream. Shocks whose downstream state has a normal velocity component less than the slow magneto-acoustic-wave speed and whose upstream state is supersonic are found to be non-evolutionary in the face of plane magneto-acoustic disturbances, unless the upstream electric field in a frame of reference where the gas is at rest is arbitrary. Velocity conditions are also determined for shock stability with the electric field not arbitrary.
Shock structures are found for the case of large ohmic diffusion, the initial temperature rise and ionization of the gas being caused by a thin transition having the properties of an ordinary gasdynamic shock. For the case where shocks are evolutionary when the upstream electric field is arbitrary, the shock structure requirements only restrict the electric field by limiting the range of possible values. When shocks are evolutionary with the electric field not arbitrary, they can only have a structure for a particular value of the electric field. Limits to the current carried by ionizing shocks and the effects of precursor ionization are discussed qualitatively.