The most frequent interfaces in olivine aggregates: the GBCD and its importance for grain boundary related processes

  • Katharina Marquardt
  • Gregory S. Rohrer
  • Luiz Morales
  • Erik Rybacki
  • Hauke Marquardt
  • Brian Lin
Original Paper


Rocks consist of crystal grains separated by grain boundaries that impact the bulk rock properties. Recent studies on metals and ceramics showed that the grain boundary plane orientation is more significant for grain boundary properties than other characteristics such as the sigma value or disorientation (in the Earth’s science community more frequently termed misorientation). We determined the grain boundary character distribution (GBCD) of synthetic and natural polycrystalline olivine, the most abundant mineral of Earth’s upper mantle. We show that grain boundaries of olivine preferentially contain low index planes, in agreement with recent findings on other oxides (e.g. MgO, TiO2, Al2O3 etc.). Furthermore, we find evidence for a preferred orientation relationship of 90° disorientations about the [001] direction forming tilt and twist grain boundaries, as well as a preference for the 60° disorientation about the [100] axis. Our data indicate that the GBCD, which is an intrinsic property of any mineral aggregate, is fundamental for understanding and predicting grain boundary related processes.


Olivine Grain boundaries Grain boundary plane GBCD GBPD TEM EBSD Grain Boundary processes Grain boundary energy Interfacial energy 



We thank the comments of Uli Faul and one anonymous reviewer that led to largely extended methods description and helped to eliminate formulations leading to misunderstanding. KM thanks Patrick Cordier for his encouragement to proceed with this project, Robert Farla and Caroline Bollinger for their open minded discussion and critical comments. KM acknowledges support by the German Science Foundation through Grants MA 6287/2-1 to KM and, HE 2015/11-1 to Wilhelm Heinrich KM further acknowledges funding by the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme, Project PD-043. HM acknowledges support by the German Science Foundation through Grant MA 4534/3-1.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Marquardt
    • 1
  • Gregory S. Rohrer
    • 2
  • Luiz Morales
    • 3
  • Erik Rybacki
    • 3
  • Hauke Marquardt
    • 1
  • Brian Lin
    • 2
  1. 1.Bayerisches GeoinstitutUniversität BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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