The effect of water, temperature and strain rate on the dislocation creep microstructure, recystallized grain size and flow stress of quartz


Since the work of Griggs & Blacic (1965) it is well known that the crystal plastic flow strength of ‘wet’ quartz samples is much lower than that of ‘dry’ samples deformed at the same conditions, and the general effect of water on dislocation creep microstructures has been documented (e.g. Hirth & Tullis 1992), but its effect on the recrystallized grain size has not been quantified. The recrystallized grain size is the most reliable and most easily measurable microstructural feature to derive flow stresses from natural mylonites (e.g. White 1979, Kohlstedt et al. 1980). In a recent experimental study, a well-constrained recrystallized grain size piezometer for quartz (Stipp & Tullis 2003) was calibrated using natural as-is quartzites; the use of a molten salt cell at high confining pressure (1.5GPa) in a Griggs-type apparatus allowed good stress resolution (Green & Borch 1989). There has been some debate as to whether there is any independent effect of water on the recrystallized grain size piezometer. Two laboratory studies on olivine aggregates (at different pressures) report contradictory results; van der Wal et al. (1993) found that the recrystallized grain size piezometer is independent of the water content, whereas Jung & Karato (2001) observed a water-dependence of the piezometer. In this study, we have investigated changes in the recrystallized grain size and other deformation microstructures of quartz within dislocation creep regimes 2 and 3 of Hirth & Tullis (1992). Deformation experiments on Black Hills quartzite with three different initial water contents (as-is, wateradded and vacuum-dried) were carried out in order to evaluate the effect of water on the recrystallized grain size / flow stress piezometer...
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