Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Geophysics and Seismology
Microtextural and experimental studies have yielded conflicting data on the relative mechanical strengths of muscovite and biotite [Wilson and Bell, 1979; Kronenberg et al., 1990; Mares and Kronenberg, 1993]. We propose a crystal-chemical resolution to this conflict, namely, that (001) dislocation glide in biotite is rate-limited by its fluorine content. Significant F(OH)−1 substitution, and concomitant removal of hydroxyl H+ directed into the interlayer cavity, potentially increases mechanical strength of biotite in two ways: (1) it eliminates K+-H+repulsion, thereby strengthening the interlayer bonds, and (2) it allows K+ to “sink” deeper into the interlayer cavity, the resultant geometry being less favorable to basal slip. In testing this hypothesis we analyzed the naturally deformed biotite studied by Wilson and Bell  and documented its very low F content (XF ≤ 0.02) compared to that of the biotite experimentally deformed by Kronenberg et al. . Our model and the comparative XF data explain why the biotite of Wilson and Bell  deformed more easily in nature than its coexisting muscovite, whereas the biotite of Kronenberg et al.  was mechanically stronger than muscovite similarly deformed by Mares and Kronenberg . Our reconciliation of these otherwise conflicting results provides a framework for predicting mechanical strength of natural micas based upon the extent of their F(OH)−1 substitution. Our synthesis highlights the potential role of crystal chemistry in determining mechanical behavior in multicomponent mineral families. Further testing of crystal-chemical effects on rheology will require mineral specimens of both appropriate composition and sufficient size.
Dahl, Peter and Dorais, Michael J. (1996). Influence of F(OH)(-1) Substitution on the Relative Mechanical Strength of Rock-Forming Micas. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 101(B5), 11,519-11,524. doi: 10.1029/96JB00326 Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.kent.edu/geolpubs/14