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  1. Abstract

    To study the mechanical behavior of polymineralic rocks, we performed deformation experiments on two‐phase aggregates of olivine (Ol) + ferropericlase (Per) with periclase fractions (fPer) between 0.1 and 0.8. Each sample was deformed in torsion atT = 1523 K,P = 300 MPa at a constant strain rate to a final shear strain ofγ = 6 to 7. The stress‐strain data and calculated values of the stress exponent,n, indicate that Ol in our samples deformed by dislocation‐accommodated sliding along grain interfaces while Per deformed via dislocation creep. At shear strains ofγ < 1, the strengths of samples withfPer > 0.5 match model predictions for both phases deforming at the same stress, the lower‐strength bound for two‐phase materials, while the strengths of samples withfPer < 0.5 are greater than predicted by models for both phases deforming at the same strain rate, the upper‐strength bound. These observations suggest a transition from a weak‐phase supported to a strong‐phase supported regime with decreasingfPer. Aboveγ = 4, however, the strength of all two‐phase samples is greater than those predicted by either the uniform‐stress or the uniform‐strain rate bound. We hypothesize that the high strengths in the Ol + Per system are due to the presence of phase boundaries in two‐phase samples, for which deformation is rate limited by dislocation motion along interfacial boundaries. This observation contrasts with the mechanical behavior of samples consisting of Ol + pyroxene, which are weaker, possibly due to impurities at phase boundaries.

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  2. Abstract

    To study the microstructural evolution of polymineralic rocks, we performed deformation experiments on two‐phase aggregates of olivine (Ol) + ferropericlase (Per) with periclase fractions (fPer) between 0.1 and 0.8. Additionally, single‐phase samples of both Ol and Per were deformed under the same experimental conditions to facilitate comparison of the microstructures in two‐phase and single‐phase materials. Each sample was deformed in torsion atT = 1523 K,P = 300 MPa at a constant strain rate up to a final shear strain of γ = 6 to 7. Microstructural developments, analyzed via electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), indicate differences in both grain size and crystalline texture between single‐ and two‐phase samples. During deformation, grain size approximately doubled in our single‐phase samples of Ol and Per but remained unchanged or decreased in two‐phase samples. Zener‐pinning relationships fit to the mean grain sizes in each phase for samples with 0.1 ≤ fPer≤ 0.5 and for those with 0.8 ≥ fPer ≥ 0.5 demonstrate that the grain size of the primary phase is controlled by phase‐boundary pinning. Crystallographic preferred orientations, determined for both phases from EBSD data, are significantly weaker in the two‐phase materials than in the single‐phase materials.

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  3. Abstract

    We conducted experiments to study melt migration in crystal‐rich mushes, with application to magma ascent within transcrustal magma reservoirs. Mushes with crystal volume fractions of 0.59–0.83 were prepared by hot‐pressing crushed borosilicate glass mixed with different proportions of quartz sand particles. Each experimental sample comprises stacked disks of mush and soda‐lime glass, a proxy for crystal‐free magma. Samples were subjected to confining pressures of 100–300 MPa and a temperature of 900°C (above the glass transition temperatures of the borosilicate and soda‐lime glasses) for up to 6 h. The bottom and circumference of the mush and soda lime disks experience the confining pressure, but the top of the mush disks is at room pressure, resulting in a pore‐pressure gradient across the mush layer. Following cooling and decompression, we determined the area fraction and morphology of soda‐lime melt that migrated into the mush layer during experiments. Melt fraction is more strongly correlated to crystal fraction than pore‐pressure gradient, increasing with crystal fraction before sharply decreasing as crystal fractions exceed 0.8. This change at 0.8 coincides with the transition from crystals in the mush moving during soda‐lime migration to crystals forming a continuous rigid network. In our experiments, melt migration occurred by viscous fingering, but near the mobile‐to‐rigid transition, melt migration is enhanced by additional capillary action. Our results indicate that magma migration may peak when rigid mushes “unlock” to become mobile. This transition may mark an increase in magma migration, a potential precursor to volcanic unrest and eruption.

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  4. Abstract

    To understand the effects of secondary minerals on changes in the mechanical properties of upper mantle rocks due to phase mixing, we conducted high‐strain torsion experiments on aggregates of iron‐rich olivine + orthopyroxene (opx) with opx volume fractions offopx = 0.15, 0.26, and 0.35. For samples with larger amounts of opx,fopx = 0.26 and 0.35, the value of the stress exponent decreases with increasing strain fromn ≈ 3 for γ  5 ton ≈ 2 for 5  γ  25, indicating that the deformation mechanism changes as strain increases. In contrast, for samples withfopx = 0.15, the stress exponent is constant atn ≈ 3.3 for 1  γ  25, suggesting that no change in deformation mechanism occurs with increasing strain for samples with smaller amounts of opx. The microstructures of samples with larger amounts of opx provide insight into the change in deformation mechanism derived from the mechanical data. Elongated grains align subparallel to the shear direction for samples of all three compositions deformed to lower strains. However, strain weakening with grain size reduction and the formation of a thoroughly mixed, fine‐grained texture only develops in samples withfopx = 0.26 and 0.35 deformed to higher strains of γ  16. These mechanical and associated microstructural properties imply that rheological weakening due to phase mixing only occurs in the samples with largerfopx, which is an important constraint for understanding strain localization in the upper mantle of Earth.

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  5. Abstract

    Iron‐rich olivine is mechanically weaker than olivine of mantle composition, ca. Fo90, and thus is more amenable to study under a wide range of laboratory conditions. To investigate the effects of iron content on deformation‐produced crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) and grain size, we analyzed the microstructures of olivine samples with compositions of Fo70, Fo50, and Fo0that were deformed in torsion under either anhydrous or hydrous conditions at 300 MPa. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) observations reveal a transition in CPO from D‐type fabric, induced by dislocation glide on both the (010)[100] and the (001)[100] slip systems, at low strains, to A‐type fabric, caused by dislocation glide on the (010)[100] slip system, at high strains for all of our samples, independent of iron content and hydrous/anhydrous conditions. A similar evolution of fabric with increasing strain is also reported to occur for Fo90. Radial seismic anisotropy increases with increasing strain, reaching a maximum value of ∼1.15 at a shear strain of ∼3.5 for each sample, demonstrating that the seismic anisotropy of naturally deformed olivine‐rich rocks can be well approximated by that of iron‐rich olivine. Based on EBSD observations, we derived a piezometer for which recrystallized grain size decreases inversely with stress to the ∼1.2 power. Also, recrystallized grain size increases with increasing iron content. Our experimental results contribute to understanding the microstructural evolution in the mantle of not only Earth but also Mars, where the iron content in olivine is higher.

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  6. Usually several deformation mechanisms interact to accommodate plastic deformation. Quantifying the contribution of each to the total strain is necessary to bridge the gaps from observations of microstructures, to geomechanical descriptions, to extrapolating from laboratory data to field observations. Here, we describe the experimental and computational techniques involved in microscale strain mapping (MSSM), which allows strain produced during high-pressure, high-temperature deformation experiments to be tracked with high resolution. MSSM relies on the analysis of the relative displacement of initially regularly spaced markers after deformation. We present two lithography techniques used to pattern rock substrates at different scales: photolithography and electron-beam lithography. Further, we discuss the challenges of applying the MSSM technique to samples used in high-temperature and high-pressure experiments. We applied the MSSM technique to a study of strain partitioning during creep of Carrara marble and grain boundary sliding in San Carlos olivine, synthetic forsterite, and Solnhofen limestone at a confining pressure, Pc, of 300 MPa and homologous temperatures, TTm, of 0.3 to 0.6. The MSSM technique works very well up to temperatures of 700 °C. The experimental developments described here show promising results for higher-temperature applications. 
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