Coupled grain-scale dilatancy and mass transfer during deformation at high fluid pressures

examples from Mount Lyell, Tasmania

S. F. Cox*, M. A. Etheridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

116 Citations (Scopus)


High fluid pressures have promoted the coupled operation of grain-scale dilatancy and solution-precipitation processes as dominant deformation mechanisms during cleavage development in a sequence of Cambrian silicic volcanics in the Mount Lyell area, Tasmania. Episodic opening of pervasive microcracks has localized the precipitation of material removed from dissolution sites, and has led to the growth of oriented crack-seal microstructures which are a major element of the overall deformation microfabric. It is argued that transient, dilatancy-driven fluid pressure gradients, and consequent fluid migration within the fluid-containing grain-boundary and microcrack network, can play an important role in contributing to mass transfer between dissolution sites and dilatant microfracture sites. The enhancement of grain-scale microfracture processes and coupled solution-precipitation processes, which accompanies the development of near-lithostatic fluid pressures, is expected to lead to high fluid pressure crustal regimes becoming substantially weaker than otherwise similar low fluid pressure regimes. The onset of such weakening processes in response to rising fluid pressures is probably a significant factor triggering pervasive regional deformation of the upper-crust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-162
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Coupled grain-scale dilatancy and mass transfer during deformation at high fluid pressures: examples from Mount Lyell, Tasmania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this