Water redistribution in experimentally deformed natural milky quartz single crystals—Implications for H2O-weakening processes

H. Stünitz*, A. Thust, R. Heilbronner, H. Behrens, R. Kilian, A. Tarantola, J. D. Fitz Gerald

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    Natural quartz single crystals were experimentally deformed in two orientations: (1) ⊥ to one prism plane and (2) in O+ orientation at 900 and 1000°C, 1.0 and 1.5 GPa, and strain rates of ~1 × 10−6 s−1. In addition, hydrostatic and annealing experiments were performed. The starting material was milky quartz, which consisted of dry quartz with a large number of fluid inclusions of variable size up to several 100 µm. During pressurization fluid inclusions decrepitated producing much smaller fluid inclusions. Deformation on the sample scale is anisotropic due to dislocation glide on selected slip systems and inhomogeneous due to an inhomogeneous distribution of fluid inclusions. Dislocation glide is accompanied by minor dynamic recovery. Strongly deformed regions show a pointed broad absorption band in the ~3400 cm−1 region consisting of a superposition of bands of molecular H2O and three discrete absorption bands (at 3367, 3400, and 3434 cm−1). In addition, there is a discrete absorption band at 3585 cm−1, which only occurs in deformed regions and reduces or disappears after annealing, so that this band appears to be associated with dislocations. H2O weakening in inclusion-bearing natural quartz crystals is assigned to the H2O-assisted dislocation generation and multiplication. Processes in these crystals represent recycling of H2O between fluid inclusions, cracking and crack healing, incorporation of structurally bound H in dislocations, release of H2O from dislocations during recovery, and dislocation generation at very small fluid inclusions. The H2O weakening by this process is of disequilibrium nature because it depends on the amount of H2O available.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)866-894
    Number of pages29
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


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