Lineation-parallel c-axis Fabric of Quartz Formed Under Water-rich Conditions

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Yongfeng Wang, Junfeng Zhang and Pengxiao Li, China University of Geosciences Wuhan, Wuhan, China
The crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) of quartz is of great significance because it records much valuable information pertinent to the deformation of quartz-rich rocks in the continental crust. The lineation-parallel c-axis CPO (i.e., c-axis forming a maximum parallel to the lineation) in naturally deformed quartz is generally considered to form under high temperature (> ~550 ºC) conditions. However, most laboratory deformation experiments on quartzite failed to produce such a CPO at high temperatures up to 1200 ºC. Here we reported a new occurrence of the lineation-parallel c-axis CPO of quartz from kyanite-quartz veins in eclogite. Optical microstructural observations, fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) techniques were integrated to illuminate the nature of quartz CPOs. Quartz exhibits mostly straight to slightly curved grain boundaries, modest intracrystalline plasticity, and significant shape preferred orientation (SPO) and CPOs, indicating dislocation creep dominated the deformation of quartz. Kyanite grains in the veins are mostly strain-free, suggestive of their higher strength than quartz. The pronounced SPO and CPOs in kyanite were interpreted to originate from anisotropic crystal growth and/or mechanical rotation during vein-parallel shearing. FTIR results show quartz contains a trivial amount of structurally bound water (several tens of H/106 Si), while kyanite has a water content of 384-729 H/106 Si; however, petrographic observations suggest quartz from the veins were practically deformed under water-rich conditions. We argue that the observed lineation-parallel c-axis fabric in quartz was inherited from preexisting CPOs as a result of anisotropic grain growth under stress facilitated by water, but rather than due to a dominant c-slip. The preservation of the quartz CPOs probably benefited from the preexisting quartz CPOs which renders most quartz grains unsuitably oriented for an easy a-slip at lower temperatures and the weak deformation during subsequent exhumation. This hypothesis provides a reasonable explanation for the observations that most lineation-parallel c-axis fabrics of quartz were found in veins and that deformation experiments on quartz-rich rocks at high temperature failed to produce such CPOs.