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Volume 15 Issue 2
Jun 2004
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Yongsheng Zhou, Dalai Zhong, Changrong He. Upper Limit for Rheological Strength of Crust in Continental Subduction Zone: Constraints Imposed by Laboratory Experiments. Journal of Earth Science, 2004, 15(2): 167-174.
Citation: Yongsheng Zhou, Dalai Zhong, Changrong He. Upper Limit for Rheological Strength of Crust in Continental Subduction Zone: Constraints Imposed by Laboratory Experiments. Journal of Earth Science, 2004, 15(2): 167-174.

Upper Limit for Rheological Strength of Crust in Continental Subduction Zone: Constraints Imposed by Laboratory Experiments


the Major Science and Technology Development Program 2002201

the Ministry of Land and Resources, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China 40002020

  • Received Date: 14 Jan 2004
  • Accepted Date: 08 Feb 2004
  • The transitional pressure of quartz coesite under the differential stress and highly strained conditions is far from the pressure of the stable field under the static pressure. Therefore, the effect of the differential stress should be considered when the depth of petrogenesis is estimated about ultrahigh pressure metamorphic (UHPM) rocks. The rheological strength of typical ultrahigh pressure rocks in continental subduction zone was derived from the results of the laboratory experiments. The results indicate the following three points. (1) The rheological strength of gabbro, similar to that of eclogite, is smaller than that of clinopyroxenite on the same condition. (2) The calculated strength of rocks (gabbro, eclogite and clinopyroxenite) related to UHPM decreases by nearly one order of magnitude with the temperature rising by 100 ℃ in the range between 600 and 900 ℃. The calculated strength is far greater than the faulting strength of rocks at 600 ℃, and is in several hundred to more than one thousand mega pascals at 700-800 ℃, which suggests that those rocks are located in the brittle deformation region at 600 ℃, but are in the semi brittle to plastic deformation region at 700-800 ℃. Obviously, the 700 ℃ is a brittle plastic transition boundary. (3) The calculated rheological strength in the localized deformation zone on a higher strain rate condition (1.6×10-12 s-1) is 2-5 times more than that in the distributed deformation zone on a lower strain rate condition (1.6×10-14 s-1). The average rheological stress (1 600 MPa) at the strain rate of 10-12 s-1 stands for the ultimate differential stress of UHPM rocks in the semi brittle flow field, and the average rheological stress (550-950 MPa) at the strain rate of 10-14 - 10-13 s-1 stands for the ultimate differential stress of UHPM rocks in the plastic flow field, suggesting that the depth for the formation of UHPM rocks is more than 20-60 km below the depth estimated under static pressure condition due to the effect of the differential stress.


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