, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 183-190

Local modification of rock chemistry by deformation

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Metabasalts subjected to progressive deformation in large-scale shear zones at Yellowknife display corresponding changes in major element abundances. Deformation, under conditions of greenschist facies metamorphism, has involved grain size reduction from 1200 μm to <20 μm, depletion of SiO2 (≃5%) and Na2O, together with hydration, and a decrease in specific gravity from 2.97 to 2.80. Chemical redistribution by deformation has been accomplished through a decrease in grain diameter of quartz and albite by intercrystalline diffusive mass transport (pressure solution), with concomitant transfer of material into extension veins. The degree of chemical modification is related to the finite strain. Deformation has involved a redistribution of ∼7.1015g of SiO2 over a volume of about 50km3.

The microstructure of an adamellite deformed in a shear zone at higher temperature, under conditions of amphibolite facies metamorphism is indicative of dominant dislocation creep. A low degree of tectonic grain refinement is present. Constant values of major element abundances and specific gravity determined across the shear zone at increasing states of strain imply isochemical and isovolumetric deformation. These results are taken to support the precept that crustal deformation is characterised by a low temperature deformation regime dominated by pressure solution, with local changes of rock chemistry and volume; and a high temperature regime in which strain is accommodated principally by dislocation creep, an isochemical and isovolumetric deformation mechanism.