Evolution in H2O contents during deformation of polycrystalline quartz: An experimental study
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AuthorPalazzin, Giulia; Raimbourg, Hugues; Stunitz, Holger; Heilbronner, Renée; Neufeld, Kai; Précigout, Jacques
Shear experiments were performed in a Griggs-type apparatus at 800 °C and 1.5 GPa, at a strain rate of 2.1 × 10−5s−1 using different starting materials: (i) Powder (grain size 6–10 μm) of dry Brazil quartz with 0.15 wt% added H2O, (ii) “dry” Brazil quartz porphyroclasts (grain size ∼100–200 μm), devoid of fluid inclusions embedded in the same fine grained powder, and (iii) “wet” porphyroclasts (grain size ∼100–200 μm), containing initially a high density of μm-scale fluid inclusions embedded in the same powder. After hot pressing, samples were deformed to large shear strains (γ∼3 to 4.5), in order for the microstructures and H2O distribution to approach some state of “equilibrium”. The H2O content and speciation in quartz were analyzed by Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) spectroscopy before and after the experiments. Mechanical peak strength is generally lower in experiments with 100% hydrated matrix, intermediate in experiments incorporating wet porphyroclasts (with a proportion of 30 or 70%) and highest in those with dry porphyroclasts. All experiments with porphyroclasts show pronounced strain weakening, and the strengths of most samples converge to similar values at large strain. Wet porphyroclasts are pervasively recrystallized during deformation, while dry porphyroclasts recrystallize only at their rims and remain weakly deformed. Recrystallization of the initially fluid-inclusion-rich porphyroclasts results in a decrease in inclusion abundance and total H2O content, while H2O content of initially dry clasts increases during deformation. H2O contents of all high strain samples converge to similar values for matrix and recrystallized grains. In samples with wet porphyroclasts, shear bands with high porosity and fluid contents develop and they host the precipitation of euhedral quartz crystals surrounded by a free-fluid phase. These high porosity sites are sinks for collecting H2O in excess of the storage capacity of the grain boundary network of the recrystallized aggregate. The H2O storage capacity of the grain boundary network is determined as a H2O-boundary-film of ∼0.7 nm thickness.