Our ability to decipher the mechanisms behind metamorphic transformation processes depends in a major way on the extent to which crystallographic and microstructural information is transferred from one stage to another. Within the Leka Ophiolite Complex in the Central Norwegian Caledonides, prograde olivine veins that formed by dehydration of serpentinite veins in dunites exhibit a characteristic distribution of microstructures: The outer part of the veins comprises coarse-grained olivine that forms an unusual, brick-like microstructure. The inner part of the veins, surrounding a central fault, is composed of fine-grained olivine. Where the fault movement included a dilational component, optically clear, equant olivine occurs in the centre. Electron backscatter diffraction mapping reveals that the vein olivine has inherited its crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) from the olivine in the porphyroclastic host rock; however, misorientation is weaker and associated to different rotation axes. We propose that prograde olivine grew epitaxially on relics of mantle olivine and thereby acquired its CPO. Growth towards pre-existing microfractures along which serpentinisation had occurred led to straight grain boundaries and a brick-like microstructure in the veins. When dehydration embrittlement induced slip, a strong strain localisation on discrete fault planes prevented distortion of the CPO due to cataclastic deformation; grain size reduction did not significantly modify the olivine CPO. This illustrates how a CPO can be preserved though an entire metamorphic cycle, including hydration, dehydration, and deformation processes, and that the CPO and the microstructures (e.g. grain shape) of one phase do not necessarily record the same event.
Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 7, 2017
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