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Rheological weakening of olivine + orthopyroxene aggregates due to phase mixing, Part2: Microstructural development

Miki Tasaka Mark E. Zimmerman David L. Kohlstedt Holger Stünitz 1, 2 Renée Heilbronner 3 
2 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 : To understand the processes involved in phase mixing during deformation and the resulting changes in rheological behavior, we conducted torsion experiments on samples of iron-rich olivine plus orthopyroxene. The experiments were conducted at a temperature, T, of 1200°C and a confining pressure, P, of 300 MPa using a gas-medium, deformation apparatus. Samples composed of olivine plus 26% orthopyroxene were deformed to outer radius shear strains up to γ ≈ 26. In samples deformed to lower strains of γ ≲ 4, elongated olivine and pyroxene grains form a compositional layering. Already by this strain, mixtures of small equant grains of olivine and pyroxene begin to develop and continue to evolve with increasing strain. The ratios of olivine to pyroxene grain size in deformed samples follow the Zener relationship, indicating that pyroxene grains effectively pin the grain boundaries of olivine and inhibit grain growth. Due to the reduction in grain size, the dominant deformation mechanism changes as a function of strain. The microstructural development forming more thoroughly mixed, fine-grained olivine-pyroxene aggregates can be explained by the difference in diffusivity among Me (Fe or Mg), O, and Si, with transport of MeO significantly faster than that of SiO2. These mechanical and associated microstructural properties provide important constraints for understanding rheological weakening and strain localization in upper mantle rocks.
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Miki Tasaka, Mark E. Zimmerman, David L. Kohlstedt, Holger Stünitz, Renée Heilbronner. Rheological weakening of olivine + orthopyroxene aggregates due to phase mixing, Part2: Microstructural development. Journal of Geophysical Research : Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union, 2017, 122, pp.7597-7612. ⟨10.1002/2017JB014311⟩. ⟨insu-01598292⟩



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