International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 715–730 | Cite as

A new approach to modeling perpendicular fabrics in porphyritic plutonic rocks using the finite element method

Original Paper


A growing body of field evidence indicates that hypersolidus fabrics preserved in syntectonic plutons are likely to have formed in highly crystallized ‘rigid sponge’ magma. This paper demonstrates that such magma could be idealized as a rheological solid and that the development of non-coaxial fabrics in plutonic rocks can very conveniently be modeled in the framework of solid mechanics. Using the finite element method (FEM), we modeled two strain regimes of small magnitudes (plane-strain horizontal simple shear with the shear strain γ of up to 0.30 and plane-strain pure shear of up to 15% shortening) superposed onto vertically oriented and variously spaced elastic phenocrysts set in the viscoelastic matrix. In the simple shear regime, the phenocrysts slightly rotate toward the shear plane, while the principal strain directions in the matrix are instantaneously oriented at an angle of about 45° or less to the phenocryst fabric. Simple shear thus can only lead to the formation of oblique phenocryst and matrix fabrics. By contrast, the vertical phenocryst fabric is maintained in the pure shear regime, and a new horizontal fabric can develop almost instantaneously in the matrix even for small amounts of superposed shortening (5% shortening after 10 ky in our model). We conclude that such a mechanism can easily produce perpendicular hypersolidus fabrics in plutonic rocks and that only a very short time span (first thousands of years) is required to develop magmatic fabric in a pluton for ‘normal’ rates (10−15 to 10−13 s−1) of tectonic deformation.


Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) Finite element method (FEM) Granite Magmatic fabric Perpendicular fabrics Pluton 



We would like to thank Keith Benn and one anonymous reviewer for their constructive reviews and Manish A. Mamtani for inviting us to contribute to this thematic issue in honor of František Hrouda. Guest editor Reinhard Greiling is thanked for helpful comments on final version of the manuscript. The first author (J. Ž.) also thanks František Hrouda, Scott Paterson, and Kryštof Verner for numerous discussions on fabrics and the AMS in plutons. We acknowledge financial support from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic through Grant No. 205/07/P226 (to František Holub) and from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic through Research Plans No. MSM0021620855 and MSM6840770003.


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© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Czech Geological SurveyPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Mechanics, Faculty of Civil EngineeringCzech Technical University in PraguePragueCzech Republic

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