Experimental dynamic metamorphism of mineral single crystals

Journal of Structural Geology



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This paper is a review of some of the rich and varied interactions between non-hydrostatic stress and phase transformations or mineral reactions, drawn mainly from results of experiments done on mineral single crystals in our laboratory or our co-authors. The state of stress and inelastic deformation can enter explicitly into the equilibrium phase relations and kinetics of mineral reactions. Alternatively, phase transformations can have prominent effects on theology and on the nature of inelastic deformation. Our examples represent five types of structural phase changes, each of which is distinguished by particular mechanical effects. In increasing structural complexity, these include: (1) displacive phase transformations involving no bond-breaking, which may produce anomalous brittle behavior. A primary example is the a-?? quartz transition which shows anomalously low fracture strength and tertiary creep behavior near the transition temperature; (2) martensitic-like transformations involving transformation strains dominated by shear deformation. Examples include the orthoenstatite ??? clinoenstatite and w u ??rtzite ??? sphalerite transformations; (3) coherent exsolution or precipitation of a mineral solute from a supersaturated solid-solution, with anisotropy of precipitation and creep rates produced under nonhydrostatic stress. Examples include exsolution of corundum from MgO ?? nAl2O3 spinels and Ca-clinopyroxene from orthopyroxene; (4) order-disorder transformations that are believed to cause anomalous plastic yield strengthening, such as MgO - nAl2O3 spinels; and (5) near-surface devolatilization of hydrous silicate single-crystals that produces a fundamental brittleness thought to be connected with dehydration at microcracks at temperatures well below nominal macroscopic dehydration temperatures. As none of these interactions between single-crystal phase transformations and non-hydrostatic stress is understood in detail, this paper serves as a challenge to field structural geologists to test whether interactions of these types occur in nature, and to theoreticians to reach a deeper understanding of the complex relations between phase transformations, the local state of stress and associated deformation and deformation rates. ?? 1993.

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Experimental dynamic metamorphism of mineral single crystals
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Journal of Structural Geology
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Journal of Structural Geology
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