Seismic velocity in antigorite-bearing serpentinite mylonites
Tohru Watanabe, Yuhto Shirasugi, Hideaki Yano, Katsuyoshi Michibayashi, 2011. "Seismic velocity in antigorite-bearing serpentinite mylonites", Deformation Mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics: Microstructures, Mechanics and Anisotropy, David J. Prior, Ernest H. Rutter, Daniel J. Tatham
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The relationships between elastic wave velocities and petrofabrics were studied in two antigorite-bearing serpentinite mylonites. Rock samples with antigorite content of 37 and 80 vol% were collected from the Happo ultramafic complex, Central Japan. Compressional and shear-wave velocities were measured by the pulse transmission technique at room temperature and confining pressures of up to 180 MPa. Petrofabrics were examined by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy with electron backscattered diffraction (SEM-EBSD). Olivine a- and c-axes are weakly oriented perpendicular to the foliation and parallel to the lineation, respectively. Antigorite b- and c-axes are distinctly oriented parallel to the lineation and perpendicular to the foliation, respectively. Both samples show strong anisotropy of velocity. The compressional wave velocity is fastest in the direction parallel to the lineation, and slowest in the direction perpendicular to the foliation. The shear wave oscillating parallel to the foliation has higher velocity than that oscillating perpendicular to the foliation. As the antigorite content increases, the mean velocity decreases but both azimuthal and polarization anisotropies are enhanced. Measured velocities were compared with velocities calculated from petrofabric data by using Voigt, Reuss and Voight-Reuss-Hill (VRH) averaging schemes. All averaging schemes show velocity anisotropy qualitatively similar to measurements. There are large velocity differences between Voigt and Reuss averages (0.7–1.0 km/s), reflecting the strong elastic anisotropy of antigorite. Measured velocities are found between Reuss and VRH averages. We suggest that the relatively low velocity is due to the platy shape of antigorite grains, the well-developed shape fabric and their strong elastic anisotropy. The configuration of grains should be an important factor for calculating seismic velocities in an aggregate composed of strongly anisotropic materials, such as sheet silicates.
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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.