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Cataclasis and processes of particle size reduction

Blenkinsop, Thomas G. 1991. Cataclasis and processes of particle size reduction. Pure and Applied Geophysics 136 (1) , pp. 59-86. 10.1007/BF00878888

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The particle size distribution (P.S.D.) of fragmented geological materials is affected by the fragmentation process, initial size distribution, number of fracturing events, energy input, strain, and confining pressure. A summary of literature shows that the fractal dimension (D) of the P.S.D. is increased by the number of fracturing events, energy input, strain, and confining pressure. Cenozoic cataclasis of granite, granodiorites, gneisses and arkose seen in cores from the Cajon Pass dritlhole, southern California, produced P.S.D.s with values of D that varied from 1.88 to 3.08. Each rock type has a characteristic and more limited range of D. Areas of dilatant texture and mode I fracture-fillings have low average values (2.32 and 2.37) compared to an average value of 2.67 in shear fracture-fillings. D has a good inverse correlation with average particle size. Data from fault rocks in the San Gabriel fault zone, southern California (ANDERSON et al., 1983) have been reanalyzed to show that values of D are higher (2.10 5.52) and average particle size is lower than the Cajon Pass samples, but the ranges of values overlap, and the inverse correlation between D and average particle size is extended. Microstructural observations combined with these results suggest that three processes contributed to particle size reduction during cataclasis. The first process of feldspar alteration, which leads to low values of D, has not been previously recognized. The second process is probably constrained comminution (SAMMIS et al., 1987), since the average D in shear fracture-fillings is close to the value of 2.58 predicted by this theory. A further stage of particle size reduction is demonstrated by an increase of D with cataclasis. This third process is selective fracture of larger particles, which may also operate during localization and the cataclastic flow-to-faulting transition as observed in experiments. A transition from constrained comminution to selective fracture of large particles, and increasing D values with cataclastic evolution and grain size reduction, may be general features of experimental and natural cataclasis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0033-4553
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:19

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