Characterization of Quartz and Feldspar Deformation in the Mid-crust: Insights from the Cordillera Blanca Shear Zone, Peru
Abstract:Deformation mechanisms within shear zones from various crustal levels must be characterized to develop accurate models of lithospheric rheology. The Cordillera Blanca Shear Zone (CBSZ) in the central Peruvian Andes records changes in temperature, microstructures, and deformation mechanisms that occurred during exhumation through the brittle-ductile-transition during normal-sense slip over the last ~5 m.y. The 100-500-m-thick mylonitic shear zone occupies the footwall of a 200-km-long normal detachment fault, marking the western boundary of the 8 Ma, leucogranodiorite Cordillera Blanca Batholith. Though local variations do occur, including recrystallized quartz veins and local, decimeter- to meter- scale shear zones, the CBSZ follows a general trend of increasing strain towards the detachment. Structurally lowest positions are weakly deformed and transition to protomylonite, mylonite, and ultramylonite at higher positions, truncating at a cataclasite nearest the detachment.
We characterize strain using EBSD analyses of quartz lattice preferred orientations and deformation temperatures using quartz and feldspar textures and two-feldspar thermometry of asymmetric strain-induced myrmekite. At the deepest structural positions, feldspar grains record a complex history characterized by bulging recrystallization, myrmekite formation, and brittle fracture, while quartz exhibits dominant grain-boundary migration recrystallization (T> 500 °C) and prism <a> slip. Intermediate samples exhibit more prevalent strain-induced myrmekite, brittle fracture in feldspar, and reaction-associated recrystallization of K-feldspar to mica; quartz records mainly subgrain-rotation recrystallization (400-500 °C) and dominant prism <a> slip with a rhomb <a> component. Shallower positions preserve fewer, smaller, and more rounded feldspar porphyroclasts with no myrmekite, and dominant bulging recrystallization (280-400 °C) in quartz that records prism <a>, rhomb <a>, and some basal <a> slip.