Faculté des sciences

Calcite twin morphology : a low-temperature deformation geothermometer

Ferrill, David A. ; Morris, Alan P. ; Evans, Mark A. ; Burkhard, Martin ; Groshong Jr., Richard H. ; Onasch, Charles M.

In: Journal of Structural Geology, 2004, vol. 26, p. 1521-1529

Twinning of the e-plane is the dominant crystal–plastic deformation mechanism in calcite deformed below about 400 °C. Calcite in a twin domain has a different crystallographic orientation from the host calcite grain. So-called thin twins appear as thin black lines when viewed parallel to the twin plane at 200–320× magnification under a petrographic microscope. Thick twins viewed in the same... More

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    Summary
    Twinning of the e-plane is the dominant crystal–plastic deformation mechanism in calcite deformed below about 400 °C. Calcite in a twin domain has a different crystallographic orientation from the host calcite grain. So-called thin twins appear as thin black lines when viewed parallel to the twin plane at 200–320× magnification under a petrographic microscope. Thick twins viewed in the same way have a microscopically visible width of twinned material between black lines. Calcite e-twin width and morphology has been correlated with temperature of deformation in naturally deformed coarse-grained calcite. In this paper, we present a compilation and analysis of data from limestones of the frontal Alps (France and Switzerland) and the Appalachian Valley and Ridge and Plateau provinces (eastern United States) to document this temperature dependence. Mean calcite twin width correlates directly with temperature of deformation such that thin twins dominate below 170 °C and thick twins dominate above 200 °C. Above 250 °C dynamic recrystallization is an important deformation mechanism in calcite. Mean twin intensity (twin planes/mm) correlates negatively with temperature, and a cross plot of twin intensity with twin width can yield information about both strain and temperature of deformation. These relationships provide a deformation geothermometer for rocks that might otherwise yield little or no paleotemperature data.