Basal slip and mechanical anisotropy of biotite

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 



The basal slip systems of biotite and their mechanical expressions have been investigated by shortening single crystals oriented to maximize and minimize shear stresses on (001). Samples loaded at 45° to (001) exhibit gentle external rotations associated with dislocation glide. High‐angle kink bands in these samples, unlike those developed in micas loaded parallel to (001), are limited to sample corners. Samples shortened perpendicular to (001) show no evidence of nonbasal slip and fail by fracture over all conditions tested. The mechanical response of biotite shortened at 45° to (001) is nearly perfectly elastic‐plastic; stress‐strain curves are characterized by a steep elastic slope, a sharply defined yield point, and continued deformation at low (mostly 1%. Stresses measured beyond the yield point are insensitive to confining pressure over the range 200 to 500 MPa and exhibit weak dependencies upon strain rate and temperature. Assuming an exponential relationship between differential stress σ and strain rate of the form , the data collected over strain rates and temperatures of 10−7 to 10−4 s−1 and 20° to 400°C, respectively, are best fit by an exponential constant α of 0.41±0.08 MPa‐1 and an activation energy of 82±13 kJ/mol. A power law fits the data equally well with = 18±4 and = 51±9 kJ/mol. Samples oriented favorably for slip in directions [100] and [110] are measurably weaker than those shortened at 45° to [010] and [310], consistent with the reported Burgers vectors 〈100〉, 1/2 〈110〉, and 1/2 〈110〉. The anisotropy of biotite is further revealed by contrasting these plastic strengths with results of samples deformed parallel and perpendicular to (001). Previous studies have shown that biotite loaded in the (001) plane is strong prior to the nucleation of kink bands. The strength of biotite shortened perpendicular to (001) exceeds that measured parallel to (001) and is pressure dependent. Application of the results to deformation within the continental crust suggests that biotite oriented favorably for slip is much weaker than most other silicates over a wide range of geologic conditions. Its presence within foliated rocks and shear zones may limit locally the stresses that can be supported.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Basal slip and mechanical anisotropy of biotite
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/JB095iB12p19257
Volume 95
Issue B12
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 22 p.
First page 19257
Last page 19278
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