Replacement reactions and deformation by dissolution and precipitation processes in amphibolites

Giuntoli, Francesco; Menegon, Luca and Warren, Clare J. (2018). Replacement reactions and deformation by dissolution and precipitation processes in amphibolites. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 36(9) pp. 1263–1286.



The deformation of the middle to lower crust in collisional settings occurs via deformation mechanisms that vary with rock composition, fluid content, pressure and temperature. These mechanisms are responsible for the accommodation of large tectonic transport distances during nappe stacking and exhumation. Here we show that fracturing and fluid flow triggered coupled dissolution‐precipitation and dissolution‐precipitation creep processes, which were responsible for the formation of a mylonitic microstructure in amphibolites. This fabric is developed over a crustal thickness of >500 m in the Lower Seve Nappe (Scandinavian Caledonides). Amphibolites display a mylonitic foliation that wraps around albite porphyroclasts appearing dark in panchromatic cathodoluminescence. The albite porphyroclasts were dissected and fragmented by fractures preferentially developed along the (001) cleavage planes, and display lobate edges with embayments and peninsular features. Two albite/oligoclase generations, bright in cathodoluminescence, resorbed and overgrew the porphyroclasts, sealing the fractures. Electron backscattered diffraction shows that the two albite/oligoclase generations grew both pseudomorphically and topotaxially at the expense of the albite porphyroclasts, and epitaxially around them. These two albite/oligoclase generations also grew as neoblasts elongated parallel to the mylonitic foliation. The amphibole crystals experienced a similar microstructural evolution, as evidenced by corroded ferrohornblende cores surrounded by ferrotschermakite rims that preserve the same crystallographic orientation of the cores. Misorientation maps highlight how misorientations in amphibole are related to displacement along fractures perpendicular to its c‐axis. No crystal plasticity is observed in either mineral species. Plagioclase and amphibole display a crystallographic preferred orientation that is the result of topotaxial growth on parental grains and nucleation of new grains with a similar crystallographic orientation. Amphibole and plagioclase thermobarometry constrains the mylonitic foliation development to the epidote amphibolite facies (˜600°C, 0.75‐0.97 GPa). Our results demonstrate that at middle to lower crustal levels the presence of H2O‐rich fluid at grain boundaries facilitates replacement reactions by coupled dissolution‐precipitation and favours deformation by dissolution‐precipitation creep over dislocation creep in plagioclase and amphibole.

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