Strain Localization at Constant Strain Rate and Changing Stress Conditions: Implications for Plate Boundary Processes in the Upper Mantle Academic Article uri icon


  • We present results from a natural deformed shear zone in the Turon de Tcoure massif of the French Pyrenees that directly addresses the processes involved in strain localization, a topic that has been investigated for the last 40 years by structural geologists. Paleopiezometry indicates that differential stresses are variable both spatially across the zone, and temporally during exhumation. We have, however, also calculated strain rate, which remains constant despite changes in stress. This result appears to be at odds with recent experimental deformation on monophase (olivine) rocks, which indicate that strain localization occurs dominantly as a result of constant stress. We hypothesize that in the Turon de Tcoure massifand many natural shear zonesstrain localization occurs as a result of reactions, which decrease the grain size and promote the activation of grain size sensitive deformation mechanisms. From a tectonics perspective, this study indicates that the deformation rate in a particular plate boundary is relatively uniform. Stress, however, varies to accommodate this deformation. This viewpoint is consistent with deformation at a plate boundary, but it is not the typical way in which we interpret strain localization.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Newman, J., Chatzaras, V., Tikoff, B., Wijbrans, J. R., Lamb, W. M., & Drury, M. R.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Newman, Julie||Chatzaras, Vasileios||Tikoff, Basil||Wijbrans, Jan R||Lamb, William M||Drury, Martyn R

publication date

  • January 2021