Dislocation creep of dry quartz Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Small-scale shear zones within the Permian Truzzo meta-granite developed during the Alpine orogeny at amphibolite facies conditions. In these shear zones magmatic quartz deformed by dislocation creep and recrystallized dynamically by grain boundary migration with minor subgrain rotation recrystallization to a grain size of around 250750 m, consistent with flow at low differential stresses. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy reveals very low water contents in the interior of recrystallized grains (in the form of discrete OH peaks, ~20 H/106Si and very little broad band absorption, <100 H/106Si). The spectral characteristics are comparable to those of dry Brazil quartz. In FTIR spectra, magmatic quartz grains show a broad absorption band related with high water concentrations only in those areas where fluid inclusions are present while other areas are dry. Drainage of fluid inclusions and synkinematic growth of hydrous minerals indicates that a hydrous fluid has been available during deformation. Loss of intragranular water during grain boundary migration recrystallization did not result in a microstructure indicative of hardening. These FTIR measurements provide the first evidence that quartz with extremely low intragranular water contents can deform in nature by dislocation creep at low differential stresses. Low intragranular water contents in naturally deformed quartz may not be necessarily indicative of a high strength, and the results are contrary to implications taken from deformation experiments where very high water contents are required to allow dislocation creep in quartz. It is suggested that dislocation creep of quartz in the Truzzo meta-granite is possible to occur at low differential stresses because sufficient amounts of intergranular water ensure a high recovery rate by grain boundary migration while the absence of significant amounts of intragranular water is not crucial at natural conditions.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kilian, R., Heilbronner, R., Holyoke, C., Kronenberg, A. K., & Stunitz, H.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Kilian, Rudiger||Heilbronner, Renee||Holyoke, Caleb WIII||Kronenberg, Andreas K||Stunitz, Holger

publication date

  • May 2016