The initiation of strain localisation in plagioclase-rich rocks: Insights from detailed microstructural analyses

H. Svahnberg*, S. Piazolo

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)


    In order to shed light on the cause for onset of strain localisation in plagioclase-rich rocks we have performed detailed microstructural analyses on a sheared anorthosite-leucogabbro using optical microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and chemical analyses. The analysed sample is from an Archaean unit, SW Greenland, deformed at lower to mid crustal conditions (T = 675-700 °C and moderate pressure). The initial deformation occurred dominantly by dislocation creep and the grain size was reduced primarily by subgrain rotation recrystallisation. Recrystallised plagioclase grains (average size 80 μm) are dominantly found in (i) clusters, (ii) lenses and (iii) continuous bands subparallel to shear zone boundaries. Recrystallised grains in clusters and lenses display inherited crystallographic orientations. Their bulk crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) is random; however, crystallographic characteristics show that parent and daughter grains have the same misorientation axes and possibly the same active slip systems. Recrystallised grains in continuous bands show a CPO with a single dominant active slip system, (001)<110>, aligned with the structural (XYZ) framework. For these parent and daughter grains, misorientation axes are random and the dominant slip system is different. Grain rotations of recrystallised grains are traceable back to the orientation of the adjacent porphyroclast. We infer that the cause for strain localisation is recrystallisation and development of a CPO in continuous recrystallised bands. Microstructures in combination with misorientation and slip system analyses indicate a possible change from dislocation creep in clusters and lenses to dislocation-accommodated grain boundary sliding (DisGBS) in continuous bands. This inferred shift in dominant deformation mechanism would lower the strength of the shear zone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1404-1416
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Structural Geology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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