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The defect production in GaP during Ar+ ion implantation at 300 and 80 K is investigated by means of Rutherford backscattering spectrometry and optical‐absorption spectroscopy. It is shown that the transformation to the amorphous state in the medium dose region is different for the two temperatures and differs remarkably from the behavior observed in GaAs. An attempt is made to understand the amorphization process in the framework of previously predicted overlap damage models. Contrary to the situation in GaAs, in GaP the number of overlaps of primarily produced clusters necessary to amorphize a certain region increases with decreasing temperature connected with an increasing area damaged by one ion. A possible explanation is a modified change of the primarily produced damage regions in GaP compared to GaAs. Generally, however, the primarily damaged regions are more stable in GaP than in GaAs.