Localisation of ductile deformation in rocks is commonly found at all scales from crustal shear zones down to grain scale shear bands. Of the various mechanisms for localisation, mechanical anisotropy has received relatively little attention, especially in numerical modelling. Mechanical anisotropy can be due to dislocation creep of minerals (e.g. ice or mica) and/or layering in rocks (e.g. bedding, cleavage). We simulated simple-shear deformation of a locally anisotropic, single-phase power-law rheology material up to shear strain of five. Localisation of shear rate in narrow shear bands occurs, depending on the magnitude of anisotropy and the stress exponent. At high anisotropy values, strain-rate frequency distributions become approximately log-normal with heavy, exponential tails. Localisation due to anisotropy is scale-independent and thus provides a single mechanism for a self-organised hierarchy of shear bands and zones from mm-to km-scales. The numerical simulations are compared with the natural example of the Northern Shear Belt at Cap de Creus, NE Spain.
Bibliographical noteHR acknowledges financial support by the China Scholarship Council (CSC; grant nr. 201506400014). EGR acknowledges the support of the Beatriu de Pinós programme of the Government of Catalonia's Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Department of Economy and Knowledge (2016 BP 00208). M.-G.L acknowledges the support of the Juan de la Cierva programme of the Government of Spain’s Ministry for Science, Innovation and Universities.
- Shear zones
- Strain localisation
- Strain-rate distribution