Strain localization and fabric development in polycrystalline anorthite + melt by water diffusion in an axial deformation experiment

Jun ichi Fukuda, Jun Muto, Hiroyuki Nagahama

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6 Citations (Scopus)


We performed two axial deformation experiments on synthetic polycrystalline anorthite samples with a grain size of ~ 3 μm and 5 vol% Si–Al-rich glass at 900 °C, a confining pressure of 1.0 GPa, and a strain rate of 10−4.8 s−1. One sample was deformed as-is (dry); in the other sample, two half-cut samples (two cores) with 0.15 wt% water at the boundary were put together in the apparatus. The mechanical data for both samples were essentially identical with a yield strength of ~ 700 MPa and strain weakening of ~ 500 MPa by 20% strain. The dry sample appears to have been deformed by distributed fracturing. Meanwhile, the water-added sample shows plastic strain localization in addition to fracturing and reaction products composed of zoisite grains and SiO2 materials along the boundary between the two sample cores. Infrared spectra of the water-added sample showed dominant water bands of zoisite. The maximum water content was 1500 wt ppm H2O at the two-core boundary, which is the same as the added amount. The water contents gradually decreased from the boundaries to the sample interior, and the gradient fitted well with the solution of the one-dimensional diffusion equation. The determined diffusion coefficient was 7.4 × 10−13 m2/s, which agrees with previous data for the grain boundary diffusion of water. The anorthite grains in the water-added sample showed no crystallographic preferred orientation. Textural observations and water diffusion indicate that water promotes the plastic deformation of polycrystalline anorthite by grain-size-sensitive creep as well as simultaneous reactions. We calculated the strain rate evolution controlled by water diffusion in feldspar aggregates surrounded by a water source. We assumed water diffusion in a dry rock mass with variable sizes. Diffused water weakens a rock mass with time under compressive stress. The calculated strain rate decreased from 10−10 to 10−15 s−1 with an increase in the rock mass size to which water is supplied from < 1 m to 1 km and an increase in the time of water diffusion from < 1 to ~ 10,000 years. This indicates a decrease in the strain rate in a rock mass with increasing deformation via water diffusion.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


  • Anhydrous polycrystalline anorthite
  • Griggs-type deformation apparatus
  • Plastic deformation
  • Reaction
  • Water diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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