Microstructures, geochemistry, and geochronology of mica fish: Review and advances

Ribeiro, Bruno V., Kirkland, Christopher L., Finch, Melanie A., Faleiros, Frederico M., Reddy, Steven M., Rickard, William D.A., and Hartnady, Michael I.H. (2023) Microstructures, geochemistry, and geochronology of mica fish: Review and advances. Journal of Structural Geology, 175. 104947.

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Shear zones are one of the most conspicuous structures in orogenic and rifting settings, accommodating high strain, rock displacement and influencing magma emplacement and fluid flow. Since shear zones may be simultaneously or sequentially affected by multiple processes involving mineral reactions, variations in pressure-temperature conditions, fluid-rock interaction, and diffusion, determining the timing of such structures has been one of the major challenges for modern geochronology. Although low- (up to lower greenschist facies) and high-temperature shear zones (above amphibolite facies) are well-dated through low- and high-closure temperature minerals, medium-temperature shear zones developed within the critical temperature window of ∼450–550 °C, in which conventional chronometers such as 40Ar/39Ar and Rb–Sr applied to mica fish may or may not record the timing of deformation for multiple reasons (e.g., grain size, cooling rate, mineral composition, fluid activity, deformation, neo- and recrystallization). Here, we review the current knowledge on the evolution of mica fish and the effect of deformation on its chemical and isotopic systems. We evaluate the effect on the widely deployed in situ 40Ar/39Ar technique. Furthermore, we demonstrate the potential to assess mica fish evolution applying high-spatial resolution microstructural and chemical mapping techniques such as electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF–SIMS) and in situ Rb–Sr via triple quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (TQ-ICP-MS) to a case study of medium-temperature mylonites from the well-characterized Taxaquara shear zone, SE Brazil. We show that mica fish display complex microstructures with variable strain intensity, commonly with low strain inner cores and high strain edges and along kink planes. Strain shadows in mica fish are commonly characterized by low-strain fine-grained muscovite, suggesting recrystallization coeval with ductile deformation. Despite being intensely deformed, muscovite fish Rb–Sr retain the protolith age (c. 600 Ma), whereas recrystallized fine-grained muscovite yields the timing of deformation (c. 550–540 Ma). Synthetic shear bands cross-cutting coarse-grained muscovite fish induce muscovite recrystallization consistent with their distinct chemistry, with recrystallized muscovite characterized by higher Fe–Mg and lower Na suggesting fluid-assisted recrystallization under lower temperature compared to the muscovite fish host. We propose that these shear bands across mica fish play an important role by accommodating grain size reduction and subsequent deformation, leading to the formation of smaller individual mica fish. Grain size reduction, likely enhanced by dynamic precipitation (i.e., coeval crystal-plastic deformation and dissolution-precipitation creep), appears as the key recrystallization mechanism that allows low strain muscovite in strain shadows and shear bands to record the timing of deformation in medium-temperature shear zones, consistent with qualitative Sr diffusion modelling.

Item ID: 80518
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-1201
Keywords: Electron backscatter diffraction, In situ Rb–Sr geochronology, Mica fish, Mica recrystallization, Microstructures, Shear zones
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/bync-nd/4.0/).
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LE190100176, ARC LE190100053
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2024 22:20
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370511 Structural geology and tectonics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280107 Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences @ 100%
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