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Conference Papers Year : 2022

Constraining transformation weakening in plagioclase-pyroxene mixtures


Mafic rocks are a key constituent of the oceanic and lower continental crust. Strain localisation and fabric development in these rocks is controlled by the active deformation mechanisms. From studies of natural rocks it has been established that strain localisation and weakening in mafic rocks is directly related to fluid availability and resultant mineral reactions. Understanding the interplay between reactions, fluid availability, and deformation aids in quantifying the stresses and rates of deformation processes. We have conducted an experimental investigation to constrain the weakening mechanisms in gabbro. Shear experiments were performed in a Griggs-type apparatus at 800-900°C, and 1.2-1.5 GPa with a shear strain rate of 10 ⁵s 1. The starting material consists of mixed powders with <100 μm sized grains of plagioclase and clinopyroxene from an undeformed sample of the Kågen Gabbro in Northern Norway. Experiments have been conducted with 'as is' (dried at 110°C) starting material and with 0.1% added water. The experiments at 800°C are very strong with a peak shear stress ~0.8 GPa whilst the 900°C experiments are weaker, reaching peak stresses of ~0.35 GPa. The 800°C experiments show evidence of mineral reactions with newly formed phases making up 10-25% of the sample. In these reaction zones, plagioclase and clinopyroxene have reacted to produce amphibole and garnet. Additionally S-C' mylonitic fabrics have developed in these samples. The 900°C samples show minimal evidence for mineral reactions (2-5% new material) or crystal-plastic deformation mechanisms. The lack of mineral reactions in the rheologically weak experiments (900°C) and abundance of reaction products in the mechanically strong experiments (800°C) is conflicting to our inferences of natural studies. However, if partial melting takes place in the higher temperature experiments, it may account for the pronounced strength decrease. We plan to conduct EBSD and TEM analysis to determine crystallographic properties and accurate grain size and shape parameters in the fine grained reaction zones. Future experiments will use fully dried natural starting material (dried at 700-800°C) and An60 and end-member diopside, these experiments will be compared with our current experiments and be used to determine the exact weakening properties from impurities in the natural starting material.
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Dates and versions

insu-03810469 , version 1 (11-10-2022)





Amicia Lee, Holger Stünitz, Mathieu Soret, Jacques Précigout. Constraining transformation weakening in plagioclase-pyroxene mixtures. EGU22, May 2022, Online, Austria. ⟨10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2627⟩. ⟨insu-03810469⟩
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