Fluid-driven metamorphism

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Bjorn Jamtveit, Ole Ivar Ulven and Anders Malthe-Sorenssen, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Metamorphic processes in the Earth crust are almost invariably associated with fluid migration. Many lines of evidence suggest that fluid migration is intimately coupled both to the metamorphic reactions, and to associated deformation processes. Petrologic arguments suggest that all granulite facies and most amphibolite facies rocks are essentially dry (no free fluid phase) at normal geothermal gradients outside periods of heating-produced fluid generation. In addition, except at high pressure - low temperature condition, fluid-consuming reactions leads to an increase in solid volume and a potential clogging of any initial pore space. Hence, fluid migration in medium and high-grade metamorphic rocks is in general associated with some porosity producing process.

Porosity generation may occur by either chemical or mechanical processes. In systems with high fluid fluxes, porosity may be produced by dissolution and transport of mass out of the system. Such fluxes can normally only be sustained over short length scales and limited time scales. In systems where the infiltrating fluid is far from equilibrium with the rock matrix, mechanical porosity generation can arise from local stresses generated by the volume change of volatilization reactions. Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that crustal rocks may be under significant tectonic stress, even far from plate tectonic boundaries. In situations where the rocks are close to critically stressed, any stress perturbations caused by reaction driven changes in solid volume or fluid pressure gradients may lead to dilatant deformation and porosity production on a scale much larger than the characteristic length scales of the reacting rock units. Field observations, experimental studies and modeling results will be presented that focus on reaction driven porosity generation in systems subject to variable initial differential stresses.