Evolution of quartz microstructure and c-axis crystallographic preferred orientation within ductilely deformed granitoids (Arolla unit, Western Alps)

  • Menegon L
  • Pennacchioni G
  • Heilbronner R
 et al. 
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Abstract

We have studied quartz microstructures and the c-axis crystallographic preferred orientations (CPOs) in four granitoid samples representative of increasing ductile shear deformation, from a weakly deformed granitoid (stage 1) to a mylonitic granitoid (stage 4). The quartz c-axis CPO measured in the mylonitic granitoid has been compared with the one observed in a fully recrystallized quartz mylonite from the same area. All the samples belong to the Austroalpine Arolla unit (Western Alps) and were deformed at greenschist facies conditions. The quartz c-axis CPO was analyzed using a U-stage and the optical orientation imaging technique. The magmatic plagioclase, forming more than 50% of the volume of the granitoid, is extensively replaced by a mica-rich aggregate even in weakly deformed samples of stage 1. These aggregates flow to form an interconnected weak matrix with increasing deformation, wrapping relatively less strained quartz grains that undergo dominantly coaxial strain. Recrystallization of quartz ranges from less than 1% in the weakly deformed granitoid to up to 85% in the mylonitic granitoid, with average grain strain of 41% and 64%, respectively. With increasing strain and recrystallization, quartz grains in the granitoids show a sequence of transient microstructures and CPOs. Crystal plastic deformation is initially accomplished by dislocation glide with limited recovery, and at 50% grain strain it results in a CPO consistent with dominantly basal 〈a〉 slip. At 60% grain strain, recrystallization is preferentially localized along shear bands, which appear to develop along former intragranular cracks, and the recrystallized grains develop a strong c-axis CPO with maxima orthogonal to the shear band boundaries and independent of the host grain orientation. Within the granitoid mylonite, at an average quartz grain strain of 64%, recrystallization is extensive and the c-axis CPO of new grains displays maxima overlapping the host c-axis orientation and, therefore, unrelated to the bulk sense of shear. The host-controlled CPO is inferred to reflect pervasive recrystallization by progressive subgrain rotation. The switch from 'shear band-control' to 'host-control' on c-axis CPO occurred between 40% and 70% of recrystallization. In the quartz mylonite, the quartz c-axis CPO develops an asymmetric single girdle consistent with the bulk sense of shear and the synkinematic greenschist facies conditions. This study indicates that the CPO evolution of quartz may significantly differ in cases of polymineralic vs. monomineralic rocks under the same deformation conditions, if quartz in the polymineralic rock behaves as a 'strong' phase. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Deformation partitioning
  • Ductile deformation of granitoids
  • Optical orientation imaging
  • Quartz c-axis CPO
  • Quartz microstructure

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