Microstructural Shift due to Post-Deformation Annealing in the Upper Mantle

Yuval Boneh, Emily J. Chin, Benjamin H. Chilson-Parks, Alberto E. Saal, Erik H. Hauri, B. Carter Hearn, Greg Hirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Syntectonic microstructural evolution is a well-known phenomenon in the mantle and lower crust associated with two main processes: grain size reduction through dynamic recrystallization and development of crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO). However, the effects of annealing via static recrystallization on grain size and CPO have been largely overlooked. We investigated mantle annealing by analyzing a suite of kimberlite-hosted garnet peridotite xenoliths from the Wyoming Craton. We focus on five xenoliths that show microstructures reflecting different degrees of recrystallization, with annealed grains characterized by distinctive faceted boundaries crosscutting surrounding, nonfaceted matrix grains. These textures are indicative of discontinuous static recrystallization (DiSRX). Electron backscatter diffraction analysis further demonstrates a ∼10°–20° misorientation between DiSRXed grains and the matrix grains, resulting in an overall weaker CPO. These characteristics are remarkably similar to microstructures observed in samples that were annealed after deformation in the laboratory. Measurements of the thermal conditions and water contents associated with the last equilibration of the xenoliths suggests that high homologous temperatures (T/Tm > 0.9) are necessary to induce DiSRX. We postulate that annealing through DiSRX occurs under high temperatures after a short episode of intense deformation (years to hundreds of years) with timescales for annealing estimated as weeks to years, significantly slower than the timescale of hours expected for a kimberlitic magma ascent. We conclude that microstructural transformation due to DiSRX will occur during transient heating events associated with mantle upwelling, plumes, and lithospheric thinning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GC009377
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Wyoming Craton
  • annealing
  • grain-size
  • mantle
  • microstructure
  • olivine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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