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Minerals 2018, 8(6), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060241

Deformation Processes, Textural Evolution and Weakening in Retrograde Serpentinites

1
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università di Siena, 53100, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, La Sapienza Università di Roma, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy
3
Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Elvet Hill, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
4
Department of Geology, University of Otago, 360 Leith Street, 9016 Dunedin, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Serpentine Group Minerals)
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Abstract

Serpentinites play a key role in controlling fault rheology in a wide range of geodynamic settings, from oceanic and continental rift zones to subduction zones. In this paper, we provide a summary of the most common deformation mechanisms and frictional strengths of serpentine minerals and serpentinites. We focus on deformation mechanisms in retrograde serpentinites, which show a progressive evolution from undeformed mesh and bastite pseudomorphic textures to foliated, ribbon-like textures formed by lizardite with strong crystallographic and shape preferred orientations. We also discuss the possible mechanical significance of anastomosing slickenfibre veins containing ultraweak fibrous serpentines or relatively strong splintery antigorite. Our review and new observations indicate that pressure solution and frictional sliding are the most important deformation mechanisms in retrograde serpentinite, and that they are frictionally weak (μ ~0.3). The mineralogical and microstructural evolution of retrograde serpentinites during shearing suggests that a further reduction of the friction coefficient to μ of 0.15 or less may occur during deformation, resulting in a sort of continuous feedback weakening mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: retrograde serpentinite; slickenfibre veins; (001) sliding; pressure solution; brittle–ductile deformation; friction coefficient; weakness retrograde serpentinite; slickenfibre veins; (001) sliding; pressure solution; brittle–ductile deformation; friction coefficient; weakness
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Viti, C.; Collettini, C.; Tesei, T.; Tarling, M.S.; Smith, S.A. Deformation Processes, Textural Evolution and Weakening in Retrograde Serpentinites. Minerals 2018, 8, 241.

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