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Article Dans Une Revue Minerals Année : 2022

Ductile vs. Brittle Strain Localization Induced by the Olivine–Ringwoodite Transformation

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As it descends into the Earth’s mantle, the olivine that constitutes the lithosphere of subducting slabs transforms to its high-pressure polymorphs, wadsleyite and ringwoodite, in the so-called transition zone. These transformations have important rheological consequences, since they may induce weakening, strain localization, and, in some cases, earthquakes. In this study, germanium olivine (Ge-olivine) was used as an analogue material to investigate the rheology of samples undergoing the olivine–ringwoodite transformation. Ge-olivine adopts a ringwoodite structure at pressures ~14 GPa lower than its silicate counterpart does, making the transformation accessible with a Griggs rig. Deformation experiments were carried out in a new-generation Griggs apparatus, where micro-seismicity was recorded in the form of acoustic emissions. A careful analysis of the obtained acoustic signal, combined with an extensive microstructure analysis of the recovered samples, provided major insights into the interplay between transformation and deformation mechanisms. The results show that significant reaction rates cause a weakening via the implementation of ductile shear zones that can be preceded by small brittle precursors. When kinetics are more sluggish, mechanical instabilities lead to transformational faulting, which stems from the unstable propagation of shear bands localizing both strain and transformation. The growth of these shear bands is self-sustained thanks to the negative volume change and the exothermic nature of the reaction, and leads to dynamic rupture, as attested by the acoustic emissions recorded. These micro-earthquakes share striking similarities with deep focus earthquakes, which may explain several seismological observations such as magnitude frequency relations and the occurrence of deep repeating earthquakes and foreshocks.
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hal-03869540 , version 1 (24-11-2022)



Julien Gasc, Blandine Gardonio, Damien Deldicque, Clémence Daigre, Arefeh Moarefvand, et al.. Ductile vs. Brittle Strain Localization Induced by the Olivine–Ringwoodite Transformation. Minerals, 2022, 12 (6), pp.719. ⟨10.3390/min12060719⟩. ⟨hal-03869540⟩
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