Stresses and pressures at the quartz-to-coesite phase transformation in shear- deformation experiments

B. Richter 1 Holger Stünitz 2, 3, 4 R. Heilbronner 1, 2
4 Géodynamique - UMR7327
BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), ISTO - Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans - UMR7327 : UMR7327, INSU - CNRS - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers , UO - Université d'Orléans : UMR7327
Abstract : Coesite was found in quartz aggregates, experimentally deformed at confining pressures of 1.0-1.5 GPa and temperatures between 600 °C and 900 °C. The confining pressure (Pc) and, in most cases, the mean stress (σm) of the experiments were below those of the quartz-to-coesite phase transformation. Yet, coesite formed when the maximum principal stress (σ1) was within the P-T range of the coesite stability field. In one sample, the euhedral coesite grains were corroded indicating that coesite started to transform back to quartz. It is inferred that this sample started to deform with σ1 above the quartz-to-coesite phase transformation and, with on-going deformation, σ1 decreased to values in the quartz stability field due to strain weakening. In all cases, σ1 triggered the quartz-to-coesite reaction as well as the reverse reaction, suggesting that σ1 is the critical parameter for the quartz-to-coesite transformation - not Pc or σm. With progressive deformation, the coesite laths rotated towards the shear plane as more rigid particles with the sense of shear. In case of back reaction, new quartz grains exhibit no systematic crystallographic relationship with respect to old coesite. The experiments cover different degrees of pressure ‘overstepping’, different temperatures, and different experimental durations at P and T and deformation always enhances the reaction kinetics. The observation that σ1 is critical for a pressure-dependent phase transformation (also for reversals) poses questions for the thermodynamic treatment of such phase transformations.
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B. Richter, Holger Stünitz, R. Heilbronner. Stresses and pressures at the quartz-to-coesite phase transformation in shear- deformation experiments. Journal of Geophysical Research : Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union, 2016, 121, pp.8015-8033. ⟨10.1002/2016JB013084⟩. ⟨insu-01396900⟩

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