Abstract

We conducted compressional, tensile, and torsional creep experiments on fine-grained forsterite plus Ca-bearing pyroxene aggregates. A distinct microstructure with aggregation of the same phase in the direction of compression was formed in our samples after all the experiments. The stress–strain rate relationship, grain-size dependent flow strength, and the achievement of large tensile strain all indicate that samples underwent creep due to grain boundary sliding (GBS). As a result of GBS, grain-switching events allow dispersed phases to contact grains of the same phase and orient in the direction of compression. We identify similar aggregated microstructures in previously reported micrographs of polymineralic granite-origin ultramylonites. Mineral phase mixing through GBS, which helps to retain fine grain size in rocks due to grain boundary pinning, has been speculated to occur during formation of mylonites. However, our results contradict this hypothesis because mineral aggregation through GBS promotes demixing rather than mixing of the mineral phases. GBS processes alone will not promote a transformation of well-developed monomineralic bands to polymineralic bands during mylonitization.

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