Abstract

Polymineralic rocks undergo grain coarsening with increasing temperature in both static and deformational environments, as long as no mineral reactions occur. The grain coarsening in such rocks is complex because the different phases influence each other, and it is this interaction that controls the rate of grain coarsening of the entire aggregate. We present a mathematical approach to investigate coupled grain coarsening using a set of microstructural parameters, including grain size and volume fraction of both second phases and matrix mineral in combination with temperature information. Based on samples from polymineralic carbonate mylonites that were deformed at different temperatures, we demonstrate how the mathematical relation can be calibrated for this natural system. Using such data sets for other lithologies, grain coarsening maps can be generated, which allow the prediction of microstructural evolution in polymineralic rocks. Such predictions are crucial for all subdisciplines in the earth sciences that require fundamental knowledge about microstructural changes and rheology of an orogen at different depths, such as structural geology, geophysics, geodynamics, and metamorphic petrology.

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