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Just published in Science Advances

Fractures and faults riddle the Earth’s crust on all scales, and the deformation associated with them is presumed to have had significant effects on its petrological and structural evolution. However, despite the abundance of directly observable earthquake activity, unequivocal evidence for seismic slip rates along ancient faults is rare and usually related to frictional melting and the formation of pseudotachylites. Here are reported novel microstructures from garnet crystals in the immediate vicinity of seismic slip planes that transected lower crustal granulites during intermediate-depth earthquakes in the Bergen Arcs area, western Norway, some 420 million years ago. Seismic loading caused massive dislocation formations and fragmentation of wall rock garnets, a process that was documented using various micro-imaging techniques, including the EBSD facility at Géosciences Montpellier.

Austrheim, H., Dunkel, K.G., Plümper, O., Ildefonse, B., Liu, Y., Jamtveit, B., 2017. Fragmentation of wall rock garnets during deep crustal earthquakes. Science Advances 3, e1602067. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602067