skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Hirth, Greg"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Key Points Changes in hydraulic diffusivity and pressurization factor during thermal pressurization (TP) balance each other in low permeability and low porosity fault rocks Hydraulic diffusional length scales as time 0.7 when considering TP parameters that depend on temperature and pressure The constant case model should be considered with ambient initial conditions and not time‐averaged ones 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Type II and IV twins with irrational twin boundaries are studied by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy in two plagioclase crystals. The twin boundaries in these and in NiTi are found to relax to form rational facets separated by disconnections. The topological model (TM), amending the classical model, is required for a precise theoretical prediction of the orientation of the Type II/IV twin plane. Theoretical predictions also are presented for types I, III, V, and VI twins. The relaxation process that forms a faceted structure entails a separate prediction from the TM. Hence, faceting provides a difficult test for the TM. Analysis of the faceting by the TM is in excellent agreement with the observations.

     
    more » « less
  3. The asthenosphere plays a fundamental role in present-day plate tectonics as its low viscosity controls how convection in the mantle below it is expressed at the Earth’s surface above. The origin of the asthenosphere, including the role of partial melting in reducing its viscosity and facilitating deformation, remains unclear. Here we analysed receiver-function data from globally distributed seismic stations to image the lower reaches of the asthenospheric low-seismic-velocity zone. We present globally widespread evidence for a positive seismic-velocity gradient at depths of ~150 km, which represents the base of a particularly low-velocity zone within the asthenosphere. This boundary is most commonly detected in regions with elevated upper-mantle temperatures and is best modelled as the base of a partially molten layer. The presence of the boundary showed no correlation with radial seismic anisotropy, which represents accumulated mantle strain, indicating that the inferred partial melt has no substantial effect on the large-scale viscosity of the asthenosphere. These results imply the presence of a globally extensive, partially molten zone embedded within the asthenosphere, but that low asthenospheric viscosity is controlled primarily by gradual pressure and temperature variations with depth. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract Slow slip is part of the earthquake cycle, but the processes controlling this phenomenon in space and time are poorly constrained. Hematite, common in continental fault zones, exhibits unique textures and (U-Th)/He thermochronometry data patterns reflecting different slip rates. We investigated networks of small hematite-coated slip surfaces in basement fault damage of exhumed strike-slip faults that connect to the southern San Andreas fault in a flower structure in the Mecca Hills, California, USA. Scanning electron microscopy shows these millimeter-thick surfaces exhibit basal hematite injection veins and layered veinlets comprising nanoscale, high-aspect-ratio hematite plates akin to phyllosilicates. Combined microstructural and hematite (U-Th)/He data (n = 64 new, 24 published individual analyses) record hematite mineralization events ca. 0.8 Ma to 0.4 Ma at <1.5 km depth. We suggest these hematite faults formed via fluid overpressure, and then hematite localized repeated subseismic slip, creating zones of shallow off-fault damage as far as 4 km orthogonal to the trace of the southern San Andreas fault. Distributed hematite slip surfaces develop by, and then accommodate, transient slow slip, potentially dampening or distributing earthquake energy in shallow continental faults. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Novel fluid medium pressure cells were used to deform antigorite under constant stress creep conditions at low temperature, low strain rate (10−9 − 10−41/s), and high pressure (1 GPa) in a Griggs‐type apparatus. Antigorite cores were deformed at constant temperatures between 75°C and 550°C, by applying 8–12 stress‐strain steps per temperature. The microstructures of deformed samples share features documented in previous work (e.g., shear microcracks), and highlight the importance of basal shear and kinks to antigorite plasticity. Rheological data were fit with a low temperature plasticity law, consistent with a deformation mechanism involving large lattice resistance. When applied at geologic stresses and strain rates, the extrapolated viscosity agrees well with predictions based on subduction zone thermal models.

     
    more » « less
  6. Abstract. Viscous flow in ice is often described by the Glen flow law – anon-Newtonian, power-law relationship between stress and strain rate with astress exponent n ∼ 3. The Glen law is attributed tograin-size-insensitive dislocation creep; however, laboratory and fieldstudies demonstrate that deformation in ice can be strongly dependent ongrain size. This has led to the hypothesis that at sufficiently lowstresses, ice flow is controlled by grain boundary sliding, which explicitly incorporates the grain size dependence of ice rheology. Experimental studiesfind that neither dislocation creep (n ∼ 4) nor grain boundarysliding (n ∼ 1.8) have stress exponents that match the value ofn ∼ 3 in the Glen law. Thus, although the Glen law provides anapproximate description of ice flow in glaciers and ice sheets, itsfunctional form is not explained by a single deformation mechanism. Here weseek to understand the origin of the n ∼ 3 dependence of theGlen law by using the “wattmeter” to model grain size evolution in ice.The wattmeter posits that grain size is controlled by a balance between themechanical work required for grain growth and dynamic grain size reduction.Using the wattmeter, we calculate grain size evolution in two end-membercases: (1) a 1-D shear zone and (2) as a function of depth within anice sheet. Calculated grain sizes match both laboratory data and ice coreobservations for the interior of ice sheets. Finally, we show thatvariations in grain size with deformation conditions result in an effectivestress exponent intermediate between grain boundary sliding and dislocationcreep, which is consistent with a value of n = 3 ± 0.5 over the rangeof strain rates found in most natural systems. 
    more » « less
  7. Abstract Most exposed middle- and lower-crustal shear zones experienced deformation while cooling. We investigated the effect of the strengthening associated with such cooling on differential stress estimates based on recrystallized grain size. Typical geologic ratios of temperature change per strain unit were applied in Griggs Rig (high pressure-temperature deformation apparatus) general shear experiments on quartzite with cooling rates of 2–10 °C/h from 900 °C to 800 °C, and a shear strain rate of ∼2 × 10−5 s−1. Comparisons between these “cooling-ramp” experiments and control experiments at constant temperatures of 800 °C and 900 °C indicated that recrystallized grain size did not keep pace with evolving stress. Mean recrystallized grain sizes of the cooling-ramp experiments were twice as large as expected from the final stresses of the experiments. The traditional approach to piezometry involves a routine assumption of a steady-state microstructure, and this would underestimate the final stress during the cooling-ramp experiments by ∼40%. Recrystallized grain size in the cooling-ramp experiments is a better indicator of the average stress of the experiments (shear strains ≥3). Due to the temperature sensitivity of recrystallization processes and rock strength, the results may underrepresent the effect of cooling in natural samples. Cooling-ramp experiments produced wider and more skewed grain-size distributions than control experiments, suggesting that analyses of grain-size distributions might be used to quantify the degree to which grain size departs from steady-state values due to cooling, and thereby provide more accurate constraints on final stress. 
    more » « less
  8. Abstract Evidence for coseismic temperature rise that induces dynamic weakening is challenging to directly observe and quantify in natural and experimental fault rocks. Hematite (U-Th)/He (hematite He) thermochronometry may serve as a fault-slip thermometer, sensitive to transient high temperatures associated with earthquakes. We test this hypothesis with hematite deformation experiments at seismic slip rates, using a rotary-shear geometry with an annular ring of silicon carbide (SiC) sliding against a specular hematite slab. Hematite is characterized before and after sliding via textural and hematite He analyses to quantify He loss over variable experimental conditions. Experiments yield slip surfaces localized in an ∼5–30-µm-thick layer of hematite gouge with <300-µm-diameter fault mirror (FM) zones made of sintered nanoparticles. Hematite He analyses of undeformed starting material are compared with those of FM and gouge run products from high-slip-velocity experiments, showing >71% ± 1% (1σ) and 18% ± 3% He loss, respectively. Documented He loss requires short-duration, high temperatures during slip. The spatial heterogeneity and enhanced He loss from FM zones are consistent with asperity flash heating (AFH). Asperities >200–300 µm in diameter, producing temperatures >900 °C for ∼1 ms, can explain observed He loss. Results provide new empirical evidence describing AFH and the role of coseismic temperature rise in FM formation. Hematite He thermochronometry can detect AFH and thus seismicity on natural FMs and other thin slip surfaces in the upper seismogenic zone of Earth’s crust. 
    more » « less
  9. Abstract

    Relationships between the recrystallized grain size and stress are investigated for experimentally deformed water‐added quartz aggregates. For stresses ≥100 MPa there is a variation in the measured recrystallized grain size for a given stress. This variation correlates with a change in thec‐axis fabric in general shear experiments, where samples with larger recrystallized grain sizes for a given stress have dominantly prism c‐axis fabrics and samples with smaller recrystallized grain sizes for a given stress have dominantly basal c‐axis fabrics. The dislocation creep flow law also changes at conditions where these twoc‐axis fabrics form (Tokle et al., 2019,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.10.017). Using the wattmeter model (Austin & Evans, 2007,https://doi.org/10.1130/G23244A.1), different piezometric relationships are quantified for samples that develop prism and basal c‐axis fabrics, respectively. The wattmeter model is sensitive to grain growth kinetics; a new grain growth law for quartz is formulated based on reanalysis of microstructures in samples from previous work. The activation enthalpies and water fugacity exponents for our grain growth law and dislocation creep flow laws are the same within error, suggesting the recrystallized grain size versus stress relationships are nearly independent of temperature and water fugacity, consistent with laboratory observations. The wattmeters successfully predict the recrystallized grain size versus stress relationships of all quartzite samples from experiments with added water. These results support the use and extrapolation of the wattmeter model for both experimental and geologic conditions to investigate the stress state and grain size evolution of quartz rich rocks.

     
    more » « less