Assessment of quartz grain growth and the application of the wattmeter to predict recrystallized grain sizes

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Leif Tokle, Greg Hirth


We investigated relationships between the recrystallized grain size and stress in experimentally deformed water-added quartz aggregates. For stresses >100 MPa there is a variation in the measured recrystallized grain size for a given stress. We found this variation correlates with a change in the c-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 two c-axis fabrics form (Tokle et al., 2019). Using the wattmeter model (Austin and Evans, 2007), we quantify piezometric relationships for samples that develop prism and basal c-axis fabrics, respectively. The wattmeter model is sensitive to grain growth kinetics; we formulated a new grain growth law for quartz based on reanalysis of microstructures in samples from previous work (Tullis and Yund, 1982). 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 water-added experimental quartz samples. Our results provide support for the use and extrapolation of the wattmeter model to both experimental and geologic conditions to investigate the stress state and grain size evolution of quartz rich rocks.



Geology, Mineral Physics, Tectonics and Structure


grain growth, quartz, wattmeter, piezometer, CPO


Published: 2020-12-04 09:22

Last Updated: 2020-12-04 17:22


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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