Lateral variations in mylonite zone thickness as influenced by fluid-rock interactions, Linville falls fault, North Carolina Academic Article uri icon


  • Over a distance of approximately 20 km, along strike, the Linville Falls mylonite varies in thickness from 1 m at Linville Falls to >60 m at Banner Elk. Along strike, pressure, temperature and displacement variations are minimized, allowing this study to focus on the influences of fluid behavior and protolith mineralogy on fault zone development. The protolith at Linville Falls contains mainly K-feldspar, perthite and quartz, while at Banner Elk the protolith contains plagioclase and quartz. At Linville Falls, quartz deformed by dynamic recrystallization, feldspar by intragranular fracturing and alteration to quartz and mica, and mica by sliding along cleavage planes. Modal mineralogies change from the protolith to the mylonite with quartz decreasing from 39 to 19% and feldspar from 59 to 1.5%; muscovite increases from <1 to 80%. Mean grain size of the quartz and feldspar also decreased, from 30 to 20 m and from 110 to 50 m, respectively. At Banner Elk, deformation occurred predominantly by dynamic recrystallization within the quartz and by sliding along cleavage planes in mica; no feldspar remains within the mylonite zone. Modal mineralogies change from the protolith to the mylonite with quartz and muscovite increasing from 21 to 50% and from < 1 to 44%, respectively. Mean grain size of quartz decreases from 60 to 24 m. Mass-balance calculations, based on major- and trace-element geochemistry, indicate approximately 75% volume loss at Linville Falls and 20% at Banner Elk. Fluid-rock ratios estimated from the calculated depletions of Si are an order of magnitude higher at Linville Falls than at Banner Elk. Fluids infiltrated the fault zone over a thicker zone at Banner Elk than at Linville Falls because the plagioclase altered more readily than K-feldspar, creating new pathways for fluids. Fluids migrated preferentially through channels along the fault zone, creating a three-dimensional network of higher fluid flow. 1993.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Structural Geology

author list (cited authors)

  • Newman, J., & Mitra, G.

citation count

  • 57

complete list of authors

  • Newman, J||Mitra, G

publication date

  • January 1993