Deformation of the deep crust: Insights from physiochemical characteristics of deformation microstructures of plagioclase and quartz in gneiss from the Salt Mylonite Zone, Western Gneiss Region, Norway

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Roxanne Nikole Renedo, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, United States, Sandra Piazolo, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, Donna L Whitney, Univ Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States and Christian P Teyssier, Univ of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States
The deformation behavior of quartz and feldspar controls the rheology of large parts of the continental crust. One way to understand the deformation of these abundant and important minerals in the deep crust is to compare their behavior within and outside of naturally-deformed shear zones. To this end, three samples of quartzofeldspathic gneiss within and adjacent to the Salt Mylonite Zone, a discrete ductile deformation zone in the ultrahigh-pressure Western Gneiss Region of Norway, are investigated in terms of microstructure, chemical composition, and fabric. The three samples represent the microstructural variation across the shear zone including grain size variation, layered (quartz ribbon bearing) v. non-layered gneiss, and variation in modal abundance. Layered gneiss is composed of one grain thick, laterally continuous quartz ribbons with plagioclase and accessory phases in the intervening regions. Non-layered gneiss consists of isolated quartz (individual grains or clusters of up to four grains) within an interconnected network of plagioclase and accessory phases. In layered gneiss, quartz preserves a well-developed crystallographic preferred orientation consistent with dominant activation of the prism and rhomb <a> slip systems, and plagioclase preserves a nearly random fabric. Quartz fabrics from layered shear zone gneiss are stronger than those of quartz from layered gneiss outside of the shear zone. In non-layered gneiss, plagioclase develops a fabric that is consistent with activation of the (001) <010> slip system whereas quartz exhibits a random fabric. Plagioclase in all samples is zoned from Na-richer cores to Ca-richer rims (reverse zoning); zoning is weaker outside of the shear zone (average core-to-rim ΔAn 6%) than within the shear zone (average core-to-rim ΔAn 10%). Results suggest a change in plagioclase and quartz deformation mechanisms occurred during decompression and shear zone development owing to strain/strain-rate variation.