Low-temperature plastic rheology of calcite plays a significant role in the dynamics of Earth's crust. However, it is technically challenging to study plastic rheology at low temperatures because of the high confining pressures required to inhibit fracturing. Micromechanical tests, such as nanoindentation and micropillar compression, can provide insight into plastic rheology under these conditions because, due to the small scale, plastic deformation can be achieved at low temperatures without the need for secondary confinement. In this study, nanoindentation and micropillar compression experiments were performed on oriented grains within a polycrystalline sample of Carrara marble at temperatures ranging from 23 to 175 °C, using a nanoindenter. Indentation hardness is acquired directly from nanoindentation experiments. These data are then used to calculate yield stress as a function of temperature using numerical approaches that model the stress state under the indenter. Indentation data are complemented by uniaxial micropillar compression experiments. Cylindrical micropillars ∼1 and ∼3 μm in diameter were fabricated using a focused ion beam-based micromachining technique. Yield stress in micropillar experiments is determined directly from the applied load and micropillar dimensions. Mechanical data are fit to constitutive flow laws for low-temperature plasticity and compared to extrapolations of similar flow laws from high-temperature experiments. This study also considered the effects of crystallographic orientation on yield stress in calcite. Although there is a clear orientation dependence to plastic yielding, this effect is relatively small in comparison to the influence of temperature.
Quartz is an abundant mineral in Earth's crust whose mechanical behavior plays a significant role in the deformation of the continental lithosphere. However, the viscoplastic rheology of quartz is difficult to measure experimentally at low temperatures without high confining pressures due to the tendency of quartz (and other geologic materials) to fracture under these conditions. Instrumented nanoindentation experiments inhibit cracking even at ambient conditions, by imposing locally high mean stress, allowing for the measurement of the viscoplastic rheology of hard materials over a wide range of temperatures. Here we measure the indentation hardness of four synthetic quartz specimens and one natural quartz specimen with varying water contents over a temperature range of 23°C to 500°C. Yield stress, which is calculated from hardness but is model dependent, is fit to a constitutive flow law for low‐temperature plasticity to estimate the athermal Peierls stress of quartz. Below 500°C, the yield stresses presented here are lower than those obtained by extrapolating a flow law constrained by experiments at higher temperatures irrespective of the applied model. Indentation hardness and yield stress depend weakly on crystallographic orientation but show no dependence on water content.more » « less
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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