[SCG69-P01] Deformation of dry orthoenstatite under high P-T conditions and its implication for the variation in strength of oceanic plates
Keywords:Orthoenstatite, Dislocation creep, Oceanic plate
At a constant strain rate ranging from 6.7 × 10-6 to 5.2 × 10-5 s-1, steady-state creep strength of orthoenstatite followed the power-law flow law with the stress exponent of 3.1 ± 0.3. Transmission electron microscopy observations revealed developments of many dislocations and the main slip system is the  glide on either (100) or (010) plane. The flow law for dry orthoenstatite in this study predicts that orthoenstatite is weaker than olivine at lower temperatures due to its low activation energy. Our calculations based on the obtained flow law suggest that two dry harzburgites, which are forming a load-bearing framework of strong olivine and interconnected layers of weak orthoenstatite, give the upper and lower limits of the effective thickness of the oceanic lithosphere in the world. For the onset of plate tectonics in Archean Earth, formation of the interconnected layers of orthoenstatite could allow the initiation of the subduction.