Welcome to GeoUnion, the graduate student body of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. GeoUnion strives to supplement the overall graduate student experience at Rice and DEEPS. GeoUnion represents DEEPS in the overall Rice grad student community, acts as a liaison between students and faculty and organizes a number of intra- and inter-departmental events throughout the academic year.
Melodie E. French, Greg Hirth, and Keishi Okazaki
Tectonophysics 767 (2019) 228168
We investigate the strength, deformation processes, and pore fluid weakening during localized shear of antigorite serpentine. Recent work has shown that some phyllosilicates, including antigorite, undergo a reverse transition from ductile to localized deformation at the pressure-temperature conditions of deep slow slip and tremor in subduction zones. Here, we investigate the processes that lead to and occur during localized deformation. Because high pore fluid pressure is hypothesized to control the location and style of fault slip at these conditions, we investigate the role of pore fluids on these deformation processes. We present the results of undrained general shear experiments on antigorite-rich serpentinite deformed to varying strains at 500°C, 1 GPa pressure, and with 0 to 2 wt.% added pore water. At all fluid conditions, the serpentinite exhibits strain hardening during distributed deformation and subsequent strain weakening associated with the formation of a prominent shear fracture zone. The magnitude of strain weakening correlates with increasing pore water content. We evaluate two end-member scenarios for how the effective stress influences strength during localized deformation and find that either an increase in fluid pressure or increase in the parameter α in the effective stress law can explain the weakening. At all fluid conditions, we also find evidence for localized dehydration of antigorite within the fracture zones, at pressures and temperatures where antigorite is considered stable. Although the extent of the reaction did not measurably affect fault strength in our experiments, at the time scales of in-situ deformation in the Earth, reaction weakening and associated pore fluid pressurization may occur.
Eric Kiser, Alan Levander, Colin Zelt, Brandon Schmandt, and Steven Hansen
J. Geophys. Res.-Solid Earth 124 (2019) 7067-7080.
Structural details of the crust play an important role in controlling the distribution of volcanic activity in arc systems. In southwest Washington, several different regional structures associated with accretion and magmatism have been invoked to explain the broad distribution of Cascade volcanism in this region. In order to image these regional structures in the upper crust, Pg and Sg travel times from the imaging Magma Under St. Helens (iMUSH) active‐source seismic experiment are inverted for Vp, Vs, and Vp/Vs models in the region surrounding Mount St. Helens. Several features of these models provide new insights into the regional structure of the upper crust. A large section of the Southern Washington Cascades Conductor is imaged as a low Vp/Vs anomaly that is inferred to represent a broad sedimentary/metasedimentary sequence that composes the upper crust in this region. The accreted terrane Siletzia is imaged west of Mount St. Helens as north/south trending high Vp and Vp/Vs bodies. The Vp/Vs model shows relatively high Vp/Vs regions near Mount St. Helens and the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field, which could be related to the presence of magmatic fluids. Separating these two volcanic regions below 6‐km depth is a northeast trending series of high Vp and Vs bodies. These bodies have the same orientation as several volcanic/magmatic features at the surface, including Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, and it is argued that these high‐velocity features are a regional‐scale group of intrusive bodies associated with a crustal weak zone that focuses magma ascent.
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