The effect of dynamic recrystallisation on the rheology and microstructures of partially molten rocks

Maria-Gema Llorens (Corresponding Author), Enrique Gomez Rivas, Anne-Céline Ganzhorn, Albert Griera, Florian Steinbach, Jens Roessiger, Loic Labrousse, Nicolas P. Walte, Ilka Weikusat, Paul D. Bons

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The present study is based on a series of two-dimensional simple shear numerical simulations of two-phase non-linear viscous materials used to investigate the mechanical behaviour of two-phase aggregates representing partially molten rocks. These simulations couple viscoplastic deformation with dynamic recrystallisation (DRX). The aim of these simulations is to investigate the competition between deformation and recrystallisation, and how they affect the mechanical behaviour and resulting microstructures of the deforming material. We systematically vary the melt to solid rock ratio, the dihedral angle of melt and the ratio of DRX vs. deformation. The results show that the amount of DRX and the dihedral angle have a first-order impact on the bulk rheology and the melt distribution in the aggregate. The numerical results allow defining two regimes, depending on the relative contribution of deformation and DRX: (1) a deformation-dominated regime at high strain rates (i.e., with a low ratio of recrystallisation vs. viscoplastic deformation) and (2) a recrystallisation-dominated regime at low strain rates (i.e., with a high ratio of recrystallisation vs. viscoplastic deformation). The first case results in systems bearing large connected melt pockets whose viscous flow controls the deformation of the aggregate, while disconnected smaller melt pockets develop in models where dynamic recrystallisation dominates. The results of this study allow us to better understand the development of connected melt pockets, which may focus melt flow. The distribution of the melt phase plays a key role in the formation of larger-scale melt-enriched shear bands, which in turn has a direct influence on large-scale convective mantle flow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-235
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Early online date22 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

This work was founded by the joint project “Rheology of the continental crust in collision”, funded by the Procope scheme of PHC Egide in France and by the DAAD PPP scheme in Germany. M-GL acknowledges the support of the Juan de la Cierva programme of the Government of Spain’s Ministry for Science, Innovation and Universities. 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). This work benefited from discussions with Pi L. Jolivet and E. Burov within the ERC project RHEOLITH. We thank Elisabetta Mariani and Marcin Dabrowski for their helpful comments, together with the editorial guidance of Dave Healy and Bill Dunne.


  • Partial melting
  • Dynamic recrystallisation
  • Microstructure
  • Dihedral angle
  • Simple shear
  • Numerical simulation


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