Modification of fluid inclusions in quartz by deviatoric stress. II: experimentally induced changes in inclusion volume and composition
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Fluid inclusions in quartz are known to modify their densities during shear deformation. Modifications of chemical composition are also suspected. However, such changes have not been experimentally demonstrated, their mechanisms remain unexplained, and no criteria are available to assess whether deformed inclusions preserve information on paleofluid properties. To address these issues, quartz crystals containing natural CO2–H2O–NaCl fluid inclusions have been experimentally subjected to compressive deviatoric stresses of 90–250 MPa at 700°C and ~600 MPa confining pressure. The resulting microcracking of the inclusions leads to expansion by up to 20%, producing low fluid densities that bear no relation to physical conditions outside the sample. Nevertheless, the chemical composition of the precursor inclusions is preserved. With time the microcracks heal and form swarms of tiny satellite inclusions with a wide range of densities, the highest reflecting the value of the maximum principle stress, σ 1. These new inclusions lose H2O via diffusion, thereby passively increasing their salt and gas contents, and triggering plastic deformation of the surrounding quartz via H2O-weakening. Using microstructural criteria to identify the characteristic types of modified inclusions, both the pre-deformation fluid composition and syn-deformation maximum stress on the host mineral can be derived from microthermometric analysis and thermodynamic modelling.
KeywordsQuartz Crystal-plasticity Deformation Fluid inclusions Diffusion Isochores Reequilibration
This study was supported by Swiss National Science Foundation grants 200020-111834 and 200020-122131 to L. W. Diamond. Anina Caviezel kindly assisted with spindle-stage measurements. The authors are grateful to two anonymous journal reviewers for their helpful comments and to Jacques Touret for editorial advice.
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