Geophysics seminar: Elena Miranda (CSU Northridge) "Grain size sensitivity controls strain localization in lower oceanic crust: a study of plagioclase deformation mechanisms"

02/12/2019 - 12:00pm
8610 Kennel Way La Jolla, CA 92037, US
Event Description: 

Talk Abstract:

We use quantitative microstructural analysis including misorientation analysis based on electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) data to investigate deformation mechanisms of naturally deformed plagioclase in an amphibolite gabbro mylonite. The submersible sample is from lower oceanic crust exposed near the Southwest Indian Ridge, and it has a high ratio of recrystallized matrix grains to porphyroclasts. Microstructures preserved in porphyroclasts suggest that early deformation was achieved principally by dislocation creep with subgrain rotation recrystallization; recrystallized grain microstructures indicate that subsequent grain boundary sliding (GBS) was active in the continued deformation of the recrystallized matrix. The recrystallized matrix shows four-grain junctions, randomized misorientation axes, and a shift towards higher angles for neighbor-pair misorientations, all indicative of GBS. The matrix grains also exhibit a shape preferred orientation, a weak lattice preferred orientation consistent with slip on multiple slip systems, and intragrain microstructures indicative of dislocation movement. The combination of these microstructures suggest deformation by dislocation-accommodated GBS (DisGBS). Strain localization within the recrystallized matrix was promoted by a transition from grain size insensitive dislocation creep to grain size sensitive GBS, and sustained by the maintenance of a small grain size during superplasticity. Our study is significant in that we are the first to present evidence for superplasticity of feldspar as a consequence of DisGBS, and given the abundance of plagioclase in both lower oceanic and continental crust, DisGBS may be under-recognized as a critical deformation mechanism in fine-grained shear zone rocks.

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Michael Murphy
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