Grain size sensitive (GSS) power law creep of San Carlos olivine aggregates was investigated by comparing strain rates measured in laboratory deformation experiments to strain rates determined from a micromechanical model of intragranular dislocation processes. The plastic flow behavior of olivine aggregates due solely to intragranular slip was determined using flow laws for olivine single crystals in combination with grain orientations measured by electron backscatter diffraction. Measured strain rates were compared to results from the micromechanical model for samples deformed in compression to an axial strain of <0.2 and in torsion to a shear strain of up to 7.4. Olivine aggregates deform up to a factor of 4.6 times faster than the maximum possible rates determined from the micromechanical model of intragranular slip. Comparison of our data to published flow laws indicates that diffusion creep cannot account for this difference. The ratio of experimentally determined strain rates to those from the micromechanical model is strongly dependent upon grain size but is independent of stress and strength of lattice-preferred orientation. These observations indicate that GSS power law creep, consistent with dislocation-accommodated grain boundary sliding, occurs in both weakly and strongly textured olivine aggregates at the studied conditions.
- grain size