Deformed quartzitic rocks from the Carboneras and Palomares fault areas (SE Spain) are enriched in phyllosilicates compared to their respective protoliths. Deformation is mainly localized in highly foliated chlorite-rich bands. Quartz-rich bands show brittle deformation developing dolomite-rich cross-cutting veins re-cementing microcataclasite areas. Undamaged lenses within the cataclastic rocks contain patches of phyllosilicates with randomly oriented chlorite and mica. Mg, Fe, water, As and Zn enrichment of the damaged rocks suggests a process of hydrothermal chloritization associated with the Cabo de Gata volcanism. Petrographic characteristics indicate that hydrothermal alteration that produced chlorite and mica-enrichment occurred before faulting. Phyllosilicates provided lubricating properties to the quartzitic rocks, favouring the predominance of creep over seismic stick-slip and reducing the possibility of large seismogenic events. Dolomite cementation as a consequence of fluid–rock interaction processes would have a limited effect, due to the presence of weak phyllosilicate surfaces.