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Low-temperature deformation is characterized by heterogeneous strain in which the bulk of the material clearly retains its primary texture. Deformation is by grain-scale crystal plasticity, rotation, fracture, and pressure solution, and by transgranular mechanisms that crosscut numerous grains. The important low-temperature crystal-plastic features are twin lamellae, deformation bands, and undulatory extinction. Subgrain formation by recrystallization or crystal-plastic strain of more than 15% marks the upper limit of the low-temperature regime. Grain rotation may produce foliations in soft sediments or rocks. Microscopic to mesoscopic kinks and crenulations of bedding occur in soft clay and shale. Transgranular features include Lüders’ bands, cooling and desiccation cracks, joints, extension-fracture cleavage, clastic dikes, mineral-filled veins of several types, recrystallization/replacement veins, vein arrays, boudins, faults, stylolites, slickolites, solution cleavages that range from widely spaced to slaty and pencil cleavage. Pressure fringes form adjacent to relatively rigid grains and have fabrics analogous to those in veins. Faults include conjugate fault pairs (Andersonian faults) multiple simultaneous conjugates (Oertel faults), and Riedel shear-zone configurations. The sense of fault displacement is determined from bends, steps, trails, tails, and feather fractures. Superplasticity, especially if aided by diffusion in grain-boundary water, might be important at low temperatures. Fault textures are diagnostic of the environment of deformation but have yet to be uniquely correlated with the presence or absence of earthquakes. Riedel shears and pseudotachylite may form in earthquake source regions, although pseudotachylite is evidently rare in brittle fault zones. The best indicators of stress magnitudes are the critical resolved shear stress for deformation twinning and the presence of tensile fractures. Strain magnitudes and stress and strain tensor orientations can be determined with a variety of methods that are based on mechanical twins, platy grain orientation, grain center distribution, and fault geometry and slip directions. Different deformation mechanism associations, expressed by the partitioning of the total strain into different mechanisms, are related to the ductility and environment of deformation. Deformation fronts separating different mechanism associations are defined on the basis of changes in the crystal-plastic component of strain.

Rocks do not suffer deformation; they enjoy it.

Rob Knipe, 1982

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