Seismological Evidence for Girdled Olivine Lattice-Preferred Orientation in Oceanic Lithosphere and Implications for Mantle Deformation Processes During Seafloor Spreading

J. B. Russell, J. B. Gaherty, H. F. Mark, G. Hirth, L. N. Hansen, D. Lizarralde, J. A. Collins, R. L. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seismic anisotropy produced by aligned olivine in oceanic lithosphere offers a window into mid-ocean ridge (MOR) dynamics. Yet, interpreting anisotropy in the context of grain-scale deformation processes and strain observed in laboratory experiments and natural olivine samples has proven challenging due to incomplete seismological constraints and length scale differences spanning orders of magnitude. To bridge this observational gap, we estimate an in situ elastic tensor for oceanic lithosphere using co-located compressional- and shear-wavespeed anisotropy observations at the NoMelt experiment located on ∼70 Ma seafloor. The elastic model for the upper 7 km of the mantle, NoMelt_SPani7, is characterized by a fast azimuth parallel to the fossil-spreading direction, consistent with corner-flow deformation fabric. We compare this model with a database of 123 petrofabrics from the literature to infer olivine crystallographic orientations and shear strain accumulated within the lithosphere. Direct comparison to olivine deformation experiments indicates strain accumulation of 250%–400% in the shallow mantle. We find evidence for D-type olivine lattice-preferred orientation (LPO) with fast [100] parallel to the shear direction and girdled [010] and [001] crystallographic axes perpendicular to shear. D-type LPO implies similar amounts of slip on the (010)[100] and (001)[100] easy slip systems during MOR spreading; we hypothesize that grain-boundary sliding during dislocation creep relaxes strain compatibility, allowing D-type LPO to develop in the shallow lithosphere. Deformation dominated by dislocation-accommodated grain-boundary sliding (disGBS) has implications for in situ stress and grain size during MOR spreading and implies grain-size dependent deformation, in contrast to pure dislocation creep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GC010542
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume23
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • grain-boundary sliding
  • mid-ocean ridge
  • oceanic lithosphere
  • seafloor spreading
  • seismic anisotropy
  • surface waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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