Dry and strong quartz during deformation of the lower crust in the presence of melt
Granulite facies migmatitic gneisses from the Seiland Igneous Province (northern Norway) were deformed during deep crustal shearing in the presence of melt, which formed by dehydration melting of biotite. Partial melting and deformation occurred during the intrusion of large gabbroic plutons at the base of the lower crust at 570 to 520 Ma in an intracontinental rift setting. The migmatitic gneisses consist of high-aspect-ratio leucosome-rich domains and a leucosome-poor, restitic domain of quartzitic composition. According to thermodynamic modeling using synkinematic mineral assemblages, deformation occurred at T = 760°C–820°C, P = 0.75–0.95 GPa and in the presence of ≤5 vol % of residual melt. There is direct evidence from microstructural observations, Fourier transform infrared measurements, thermodynamic modeling, and titanium-in-quartz thermometry that dry quartz in the leucosome-poor domain deformed at high differential stress (50–100 MPa) by dislocation creep. High stresses are demonstrated by the small grain size (11–17 μm) of quartz in localized layers of recrystallized grains, where titanium-in-quartz thermometry yields 770°C–815°C. Dry and strong quartz forms a load-bearing framework in the migmatitic gneisses, where ∼5% melt is present, but does not control the mechanical behavior because it is located in isolated pockets. The high stress deformation of quartz overprints an earlier, lower stress deformation, which is preserved particularly in the vicinity of segregated melt pockets. The grain-scale melt distribution, water content and distribution, and the overprinting relationships of quartz microstructures indicate that biotite dehydration melting occurred during deformation by dislocation creep in quartz. The water partitioned into the segregated melt crystallizing in isolated pockets, in the vicinity of which quartz shows a higher intracrystalline water content and a large grain size. On the contrary, the leucosome-poor domain of the rock, from which melt was removed, became dry and thereby mechanically stronger. Melt removal at larger scale will result in a lower crust which is dry enough to be mechanically strong. The application of flow laws derived for wet quartz is not appropriate to estimate the behavior of such granulite facies parts of the lower crust.
PublisherAmerican Geopgysical Union (AGU)
CitationJournal of Geophysical Research (2011) vol. 116, B10410, pp.23 .
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