How Modelling of Crystal Defects at the Atomic Scale can Provide Information on Seismic Anisotropy

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Patrick Cordier, Philippe Carrez, Alexandra Goryaeva, Karine Gouriet, Pierre Hirel, Antoine Kraych and Sebastian Ritterbex, University of Lille 1, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
Seismic anisotropy represents one of the few sources of information about flow in the mantle that takes place at timescales that are barely accessible at human timescales. Seismic waves travelling through rocks at the speed of sound can reveal flow lines frozen in rocks over hundreds of million years.

The interpretation of seismic anisotropy also needs to bridge length-scales since crystal defects are responsible for the plastic anisotropy that align crystals in a deforming rock thus revealing elastic anisotropy at the macroscopic scale. Knowing the easiest slip systems for a given crystal structure is thus the fundamental information needed. To obtain it we propose the following approach based on multiscale numerical modeling.

As a first approach, we calculate generalized stacking faults which inform us about the easiest shear paths imposed by the crystal chemistry. This leads to a short list of potential slip systems for which lattice friction will be calculated. A further selection will be done by modeling the core structures of screw dislocations. The tendency for core spreading of screw dislocations impose a selection on potential glide planes which is further validated by modeling corresponding edge dislocations and their respective mobilities.

Finally, we model the mobility of these dislocations under the conjugate influence of stress and temperature using the kink-pair model which is based on the activation enthalpy of the critical configuration which allows a dislocation to glide from one stable position to the next. The output of this model is the so-called critical resolved shear stress which is the onset of plastic glide at a given temperature and strain rate. Comparison between slip systems provides constraints on the plastic anisotropy.

Examples are presented among the major phases of the Earth’s mantle.