On the petrology of brittle precursors of shear zones – An expression of concomitant brittle deformation and fluid–rock interactions in the ‘ductile’ continental crust?

Leydier, Thomas; Goncalves, Philippe; Lanari, Pierre; Oliot, Emilien (2019). On the petrology of brittle precursors of shear zones – An expression of concomitant brittle deformation and fluid–rock interactions in the ‘ductile’ continental crust? Journal of metamorphic geology, 37(8), pp. 1129-1149. Wiley 10.1111/jmg.12504

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The inherited localization model for shear zone development suggests that ductile deformation in the middle and lower continental crust is localized on mechanical anisotropies, like fractures, referred to as shear zone brittle precursors. In the Neves area (Western Tauern Window, Eastern Alps), although the structural control of these brittle precursors on ductile strain localization is well established, the relative timing of the brittle deformation and associated localized fluid flow with respect to ductile deformation remains in most cases a matter of debate. The present petrological study, carried out on a brittle precursor of a shear zone affecting the Neves metagranodiorite, aims to determine whether brittle and ductile deformations are concomitant and therefore relate to the same tectonic event. The brittle precursor consists of a 100–500 µm wide recrystallized zone with a host mineral‐controlled stable mineral assemblage composed of plagioclase–garnet–quartz–biotite–zoisite±white mica±pyrite. Plagioclase and garnet preserve an internal compositional zoning interpreted as the fingerprint of Alpine metamorphism and fluid–rock interactions concomitant with the brittle deformation. Phase equilibrium modelling of this garnet‐bearing brittle precursor shows that metamorphic garnet and plagioclase both nucleated at 0.6 ± 0.05 GPa, 500 ± 20°C and then grew along a prograde path to 0.75 ± 0.05 GPa, 530 ± 20°C. These amphibolite facies conditions are similar to those inferred from ductile shear zones from the same area, suggesting that both brittle and ductile deformation were active in the ductile realm above 500°C for a depth range between 17 and 21 km. We speculate that the Neves area fulfils most of the required conditions to have hosted slow earthquakes during Alpine continental collision, that is, coupled frictional and viscous deformation under high‐fluid pressure conditions ~450°C. Further investigation of this potential geological record is required to demonstrate that slow earthquakes may not be restricted to subduction zones but are also very likely to occur in modern continental collision settings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Petrology

UniBE Contributor:

Lanari, Pierre

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0263-4929

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pierre Lanari

Date Deposited:

22 Apr 2020 12:04

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2020 12:10

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/jmg.12504

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.143449

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/143449

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