From crystal to crustal: petrofabric-derived seismic modelling of regional tectonics
G. E. Lloyd, J. M. Halliday, R. W. H. Butler, M. Casey, J.-M. Kendall, J. Wookey, D. Mainprice, 2011. "From crystal to crustal: petrofabric-derived seismic modelling of regional tectonics", Deformation Mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics: Microstructures, Mechanics and Anisotropy, David J. Prior, Ernest H. Rutter, Daniel J. Tatham
Download citation file:
The Nanga Parbat Massif (NPM), Pakistan Himalaya, is an exhumed tract of Indian continental crust and represents an area of active crustal thickening and exhumation. While the most effective way to study the NPM at depth is through seismic imaging, interpretation depends upon knowledge of the seismic properties of the rocks. Gneissic, ‘mylonitic’ and cataclastic rocks emplaced at the surface were sampled as proxies for lithologies and fabrics currently accommodating deformation at depth. Mineral crystallographic preferred orientations (CPO) were measured via scanning electron microscope (SEM)/electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), from which three-dimensional (3D) elastic constants, seismic velocities and anisotropies were predicted. Micas make the main contribution to sample anisotropy. Background gneisses have highest anisotropy (up to 10.4% shear-wave splitting, AVs) compared with samples exhibiting localized deformations (e.g. ‘mylonite’, 4.7% AVs; cataclasite, 1% AVs). Thus, mylonitic shear zones may be characterized by regions of low anisotropy compared to their wall rocks. CPO-derived sample elastic constants were used to construct seismic models of NPM tectonics, through which P-, S- and converted waves were ray-traced. Foliation orientation has dramatic effects on these waves. The seismic models suggest dominantly pure-shear tectonics for the NPM involving horizontal compression and vertical stretching, modified by localized ductile and brittle (‘simple’) shear deformations.
Figures & Tables
This collection of papers presents recent advances in the study of deformation mechanisms and rheology and their applications to tectonics. Many of the contributions exploit new petrofabric techniques, particularly electron backscatter diffraction, to help understand evolution of rock microstructure and mechanical properties. Papers in the first section (lattice preferred orientations and anisotropy) show a growing emphasis on the determination of elastic properties from petrofabrics, from which acoustic properties can be computed for comparison with in-situ seismic measurements. Such research will underpin geodynamic interpretation of large-scale active tectonics. Contributions in the second section (microstructures, mechanisms and rheology) study the relations between microstructural evolution during deformation and mechanical properties. Many of the papers explore how different mechanisms compete and interact to control the evolution of grain size and petrofabrics. Contributors make use of combinations of laboratory experiments, field studies and computational methods, and several relate microstructural and mechanical evolution to large-scale tectonic processes observed in nature.