What happens to deformed rocks after deformation? A refined model for recovery based on numerical simulations

V. E. Borthwick*, S. Piazolo, L. Evans, A. Griera, P. D. Bons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Deformation, in large parts of the middle crust, results in strained rocks consisting of grains with variable dislocation densities and microstructures which are characterized by gradual distortion and subgrain structures. Post-deformation residence of these rocks at elevated temperatures results in microstructural adjustments through static recovery and recrystallization. Here, we employ a numerical technique to simulate intragrain recovery at temperatures at or below the deformation temperature. The simulation is based on minimization of the stored energy, related to misorientation through local rotation of physical material points relative to their immediate environment. Three temperature- and/or deformation-geometry-dependent parameters were systematically varied: (1) deformation-induced dislocation types, (2) dislocation mobility and (3) size of dislocation interaction volume. Comparison with previously published in situ experiments shows consistency of numerical and experimental results. They show temperature- and dislocation-type-dependent small-scale fluctuations in subgrain-boundary misorientations and orientation variation within subgrains. These can be explained by the combined effect of increase in dislocation interaction volume and activation of climb. Our work shows microstructure can be significantly modified even if the post-deformational temperature is at or below the deformation temperature: a scenario relevant for most deformed rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-234
Number of pages20
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2014


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