Fracturing, fluid flow and shear zone development: Relationships between chemical and mechanical processes in Proterozoic mafic dykes from southwestern Montana, USA Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractFluids can play an important role in the localization of deformation in the deep crust, yet the specific mechanisms active during the complex interactions between metasomatism, metamorphism and deformation remain elusive. Precambrian metagabbronorite dykes in southwest Montana contain fractures filled with Hbl±Grt and discrete cm‐scale shear zones with well‐preserved strain gradients. This system offers an ideal opportunity to constrain the chemical and mechanical processes that facilitated strain localization. An early M1 assemblage of Grt1+Cpx1+Pl1+Qz developed at conditions of 0.51–0.85 GPa and 500–700°C and is preserved largely as a static replacement of relict igneous phases (Opx, Pgt, Pl) in coronitic textures. An M2 assemblage characterized by Grt2+Pl2±Cpx2+Hbl+Scp+Qz developed at 0.86–1.00 GPa and 660–730°C coincided with fluid flow and deformation associated with shear zone development. Microstructural observations in marginal protomylonite/mylonite and laminated ultramylonite suggest a shear zone evolution that involved (1) nucleation from pre‐existing fractures that were sites for major fluid infiltration, (2) initial widening coincident with grain‐size reduction by microfracturing, dislocation creep, and synkinematic metamorphic reaction by solution transfer, and (3) a switch in the dominant deformation mechanisms active in the ultramylonite from grain‐size insensitive mechanisms to grain‐size sensitive granular flow accommodated by fluid‐assisted diffusion. Throughout this evolution, the effective bulk compositions of the rock volumes responding to metamorphism changed through a combination of mechanical and metasomatic processes.

publication date

  • February 1, 2018

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 31, 2018 11:25 AM

Full Author List

  • Condit CB; Mahan KH

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0263-4929

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1525-1314

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 195

end page

  • 223


  • 36


  • 2