High-temperature creep of olivine single crystals: 1. Mechanical results for buffered samples

Q. Bai, S. J. Mackwell, D. L. Kohlstedt

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To investigate the rheological behavior of the Earth's upper mantle, over 100 high-temperature deformation experiments have been performed on single crystals of San Carlos olivine in controlled chemical environments at a total pressure of 0.1 MPa. Constitutive equations have been determined which describe the dependence of creep rate on applied stress, temperature and oxygen fugacity in terms of power law relations. In addition, the effects of orthopyroxene activity and loading orientation on the creep behavior have been investigated. For samples of each of three compression directions, [110]c, [011]c and [110]c, buffered by orthopyroxene or magnesiowustite, either two or three power law equations are required to describe the dependence of strain rate at fixed stress on temperature and oxygen fugacity over the full range of experimental conditions. It is proposed that in each power law regime a different creep mechanism controls the creep rate. For all of the experimental conditions, the activation energy for creep is independent of the stress level and the stress exponent is constant at 3.5 ± 0.1. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2441-2463
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB2
StatePublished - 1991


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