Effect of water on olivine single crystals plasticity, deformed under high pressure and high temperature

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Jiuhua Chen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paul Raterron

Third Advisor's Name

Gautam Sen

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kuang-Hsi Wu

Fifth Advisor's Name

Surandra Saxena

Date of Defense



The Earth's upper mantle, mainly composed of olivine, is seismically anisotropic. Seismic anisotropy attenuation has been observed at 220km depth. Karato et al. (1992) attributed this attenuation to a transition between two deformation mechanisms, from dislocation creep above 220km to diffusion creep below 220km, induced by a change in water content. Couvy (2005) and Mainprice et al. (2005) predicted a change in Lattice Preferred Orientation induced by pressure, which coies from a change of slip system, from [100] slip to [001] slip, and is responsible for the seismic anisotropy attenuation. Raterron et al. (2007) ran single crystal deformation experiments under anhydrous conditions and observed that the slip system transition occurs around 8GPa, which corresponds to a depth of 260Km.

Experiments were done to quantify the effects of water on olivine single crystals deformed using D-DIA press and synchrotron beam. Deformations were carried out in uniaxial compression along [110], [011]c and [101]c crystallographic directions, at pressure ranging from 4 to 8GPa and temperature between 1373 and 1473K. Talc sleeves about the annulus of the single crystals were used as source of water in the assembly, Stress and specimen strain rates were calculated by in-situ X-ray diffraction and time resolved imaging, respectively.

By direct comparison of single crystals strain rates, we observed that [110]c deforms faster than [011]c below 5GPa. However above 6GPa [01l]c deforms faster than [11]c. This revealed that [100](010) is the dominant slip system below 5GPa, and above 6GPa [001](010) becomes dominant. According to our results, the slip system transition, which is induced by pressure, occurs at 6GPa. Water influences the pressure where the switch over occurs, by lowering th transition pressure. The pressure effect on the slip systems activity has been quantified and the hydrolytic weakening has also been estimated for both orientations. Data also shows that temperature affects the slip system activity. The regional variation of the depth for the seismic anisotropy attenuation, which would depend on local hydroxyl content and temperature variations and explains the seismic anisotropy attenuation occurring at about 20Km depth in the mantle, where the pressure is about 6GPa.

Deformation of MgO sin crystal oriented [100], [110] and [111] were also performed. The results predict a change in the slip system activity at 23GPa, again induced by pressure. This explains the seismic anisotropy observed in the lower mantle.



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