Focused melt flow and localized deformation in the upper mantle: Juxtaposition of replacive dunite and ductile shear zones in the Josephine peridotite, SW Oregon Academic Article uri icon


  • Results of a field study demonstrate that melt flow in the shallow mantle was focused along actively deforming ductile shear zones in the Josephine peridotite in SW Oregon. Intergranular flow of ascending liquids dissolved pyroxene and precipitated olivine, forming zones of dunite replacing harzburgite. Syntectonic formation of dunite was focused along near-vertical shear zones, with both vertical and dextral displacement, in the shallow mantle at less than 30 km depth and temperatures between 950 and 1100 degrees C. The migrating magmas which formed dunite and related pyroxenite included high-Mg, calc-alkaline andesites characteristic of subduction-related magmatic arcs. Explanations for focusing of melt flow along shear zones include the presence of a pressure gradient between strong and weak material during active deformation (Stevenson, 1989) and rapid infiltration of liquid when grain boundaries are aligned in mantle tectonites (Waff and Faul, 1992). Focused flow of melt may, in turn, lead to localized deformation and the development of shear zones. It is likely that melt-lubricated shear zones provide an important locus fdr both melt extraction and strain in the shallow mantle beneath spreading ridges and in subduction-related magmatic arcs.

publication date

  • January 10, 1995