The effect of Dauphiné twinning on plastic strain in quartz

Luca Menegon*, Sandra Piazolo, Giorgio Pennacchioni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


We present an electron backscatter diffraction analysis of five quartz porphyroclasts in a greenschist facies (T = 300-400°C) granitoid protomylonite from the Arolla unit of the NW Alps. Mechanical Dauphiné twinning developed pervasively during the incipient stage of deformation within two porphyroclasts oriented with a negative rhomb plane {z} almost orthogonal to the compression direction (z-twin orientation). Twinning was driven by the anisotropy in the elastic compliance of quartz and resulted in the alignment of the poles of the planes of the more compliant positive rhomb {r} nearly parallel to the compression direction (r-twin orientation). In contrast, we report the lack of twinning in two porphyroclasts already oriented with one of the {r} planes orthogonal to the compression direction. One twinned porphyroclast has been investigated with more detail. It shows the localization of much of the plastic strain into discrete r-twins as a consequence of the higher amount of elastic strain energy stored by r-twins in comparison to z-twins. The presence of Dauphiné twins induced a switch in the dominant active slip systems during plastic deformation, from basal <a> (regions without twinning) to {π} and {π′} <a> (pervasively twinned regions). Dynamic recrystallization is localized along an r-twin and occurred dominantly by progressive subgrain rotation, with a local component of bulging recrystallization. Part of the recrystallized grains underwent rigid-body rotation, approximately about the bulk vorticity axis, which accounts for the development of large misorientation angles. The recrystallized grain size piezometer for quartz yields differential stress of 100 MPa. The comparison of this palaeostress estimate with literature data suggests that mechanical Dauphiné twinning could have a potential use as palaeopiezometer in quartz-bearing rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-652
Number of pages18
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) [2010]. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of Dauphiné twinning on plastic strain in quartz'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this