Rock mechanics constraints on mid-crustal low-viscosity flow beneath Tibet
E. H. Rutter, J. Mecklenburgh, K. H. Brodie, 2011. "Rock mechanics constraints on mid-crustal low-viscosity flow beneath Tibet", Deformation Mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics: Microstructures, Mechanics and Anisotropy, David J. Prior, Ernest H. Rutter, Daniel J. Tatham
Download citation file:
It has been inferred from various types of geophysical data that the Tibetan middle and upper crust is detached from the underlying lower crust and mantle by a weak, mid-crustal zone involving partial melting at about 30–35 km depth. Previous modelling of the flow has used an arbitrary mid-crustal rheology to match the constraints imposed by the overall flow regime. Here we show that extrapolation of experimental rock mechanics data for solid-state flow of a quartz-dominated Tibetan middle and upper crust, plus flow of partially molten synthetic ‘granitoid’, are consistent with the geophysical constraints and provide an experimentally constrained basis for the modelling of crustal rheology involving partially molten rocks.
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.