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    Solid earth sciences

    The architecture of long-lived fault zones: insights from microstructure and quartz lattice-preferred orientations in mylonites of the Median Tectonic Line, SW Japan

    Czertowicz A. T, Takeshita T, Arai S, Yamamoto T, Ando J, Norio Shigematsu N, Fujimoto K

    Median tectonic line, LPO, EBSD, Quartz, Fault, Deformation, Cataclasite, Mylonite, Pressure solution,Fluid

    We combine field mapping with quartz microstructure and lattice preferred orientations (LPO) to constrain the mechanisms and spatio-temporal distribution of deformation surrounding the Median Tectonic Line (MTL), SW Japan. In the study area, the MTL occurs either as a narrow gouge zone or as a sharp contact between hanging-wall quartzofeldspathic mylonites to the north and footwall pelitic schists to the south. Along the northern margin of the MTL, there exists a broad zone of mylonitic rocks, overprinted by cataclastic deformation and a damage zone associated with brittle deformation. The mylonitic shear zone is dominated by coarse-grained protomylonite up to ~ 100 m from the MTL, where fine-grained ultramylonite becomes dominant. We observe a systematic variation in quartz LPO with distance from the MTL. In protomylonites, quartz LPOs are dominantly Y-maxima patterns, recording dislocation creep by prism<a> slip at ~ 500 °C. Closer to the MTL, we observe R- and Z-maxima, and single and crossed girdles, reflecting dislocation creep accommodated by mixed rhomb<a> and basal<a> slip, likely under cooler conditions (~ 300 °C–400 °C). Some ultramylonite samples yield weak to random LPOs, interpreted to result from the influx of fluid into the shear zone, which promoted deformation by grainsize-sensitive creep. Following cooling and uplift, deformation became brittle, resulting in the development of a narrow cataclasite zone. The cataclasite was weakened through the development of a phyllosilicate foliation. However, healing of fractures strengthened the cataclasites, resulting in the development of anastomosing cataclasite bands within the protomylonite.