Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 163, Issue 4, pp 701–724

The legacy of crystal-plastic deformation in olivine: high-diffusivity pathways during serpentinization

  • Oliver Plümper
  • Helen E. King
  • Christian Vollmer
  • Quentin Ramasse
  • Haemyeong Jung
  • Håkon Austrheim
Original Paper


Crystal-plastic olivine deformation to produce subgrain boundaries composed of edge dislocations is an inevitable consequence of asthenospheric mantle flow. Although crystal-plastic deformation and serpentinization are spatio-temporally decoupled, we identified compositional readjustments expressed on the micrometric level as a striped Fe-enriched (\( \bar{X}_{\text{Fe}} \) = 0.24 ± 0.02 (zones); 0.12 ± 0.02 (bulk)) or Fe-depleted (\( \bar{X}_{\text{Fe}} \) = 0.10 ± 0.01 (zones); 0.13 ± 0.01 (bulk)) zoning in partly serpentinized olivine grains from two upper mantle sections in Norway. Focused ion beam sample preparation combined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and aberration-corrected scanning TEM, enabling atomic-level resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopic line profiling, reveals that every zone is immediately associated with a subgrain boundary. We infer that the zonings are a result of the environmental Fe2+Mg−1 exchange potential during antigorite serpentinization of olivine and the drive toward element exchange equilibrium. This is facilitated by enhanced solid-state diffusion along subgrain boundaries in a system, which otherwise re-equilibrates via dissolution-reprecipitation. Fe enrichment or depletion is controlled by the silica activity imposed on the system by the local olivine/orthopyroxene mass ratio, temperature and the effect of magnetite stability. The Fe-Mg exchange coefficients \( K_{\text{D}}^{{{\text{Atg}}/{\text{Ol}}}} \) between both types of zoning and antigorite display coalescence toward exchange equilibrium. With both types of zoning, Mn is enriched and Ni depleted compared with the unaffected bulk composition. Nanometer-sized, heterogeneously distributed antigorite precipitates along olivine subgrain boundaries suggest that water was able to ingress along them. Crystallographic orientation relationships gained via electron backscatter diffraction between olivine grain domains and different serpentine vein generations support the hypothesis that serpentinization was initiated along olivine subgrain boundaries.


Crystal-plastic deformation Diffusion Dislocation Dissolution-reprecipitation Element exchange Serpentinization 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Plümper
    • 1
  • Helen E. King
    • 2
  • Christian Vollmer
    • 2
  • Quentin Ramasse
    • 3
  • Haemyeong Jung
    • 4
  • Håkon Austrheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Physics of Geological Processes (PGP)University of OsloBlindern, OsloNorway
  2. 2.Institut für MineralogieUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.SuperSTEM, Daresbury Laboratory, Keckwick Lane, DaresburyCheshireUK
  4. 4.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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