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The impact of melt versus mechanical wear on the formation of pseudotachylyte veins in accretionary complexes

Benjamin Moris-Muttoni 1, 2, * Hugues Raimbourg 1, 2 Romain Augier 1, 2 Rémi Champallier 1, 2 Emmanuel Le Trong 1, 2 
* Corresponding author
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 : Abstract Whether seismic rupture propagates over large distances to generate mega-earthquakes or is rapidly aborted mainly depends on the slip processes within the fault core, including particularly frictional melting or intense grain-size reduction and amorphization. The record of seismic slip in exhumed fault zones consists in many instances in Black Faults Rocks, dark and glass-like-filled aphanitic veins that have been interpreted as resulting from the quenching of frictional melts, i.e. pseudotachylytes. Such interpretation has nevertheless been questioned as similar macro to nano-microstructures have been observed either on intensely comminuted natural fault rocks or on slow creep experiments conducted on crustal rocks, where melting is absent. Here, we report a new dataset of Raman Spectroscopy of Carbonaceous Material analyses, aimed at discriminating the slip weakening processes operating in the fault core during slip. Using high spatial resolution profiles on natural Black Fault Rocks from exhumed accretionary complexes and an experimentally calibrated modelling of Raman intensity ratio evolution with temperature, we assessed different scenarios of temperature evolution during fault slip. None of them is able to account for the distribution of Raman signal, so that in the three studied Black Fault Rocks interpreted so far as natural pseudotachylytes, Raman Spectroscopy of Carbonaceous Material rather reflects the effect of intense and localized strain during fault slip. Furthermore, the absence of thermal imprint on Raman signal puts upper bounds on the temperature reached within the fault zone. If one cannot rule out the occurrence of high and short-lived temperature increase due to friction, the latter was not high enough as to melt the large quartz fraction of the fault zone rocks.
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Benjamin Moris-Muttoni, Hugues Raimbourg, Romain Augier, Rémi Champallier, Emmanuel Le Trong. The impact of melt versus mechanical wear on the formation of pseudotachylyte veins in accretionary complexes. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2022, 12 (1), pp.1529. ⟨10.1038/s41598-022-05379-5⟩. ⟨insu-03567999⟩

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