We present rheological data on samples of partially molten mantle rocks deformed in torsion at 1200 °C and 300. MPa in a gas-medium deformation apparatus. Samples in which stress-driven melt segregation occurs are significantly weaker than those with a homogeneous melt distribution, with strain rate increased by up to a factor of 6. The degree of melt segregation, which is influenced by the permeability of the sample material (and hence the compaction length), is controlled by changing chromite fraction as a minor solid second phase. In general, a higher degree of melt segregation causes a greater strain rate enhancement. Although we focus here on the steady-state rheological properties, a simple model of the evolution of melt segregation and rheological properties is presented. This model fits well the latter part of the stress-strain evolution but fails to fit the early, transient stages of deformation. One implication is that weakening occurs very quickly due to the emergence of smaller-scale melt bands. The model (constitutive and evolution equations) is designed to be incorporated into geodynamic-scale continuum models to explore the effects of segregation without resolving the length scales of the process directly.
- Mantle rheology
- Melt migration