Indexed on: 14 Oct '15Published on: 14 Oct '15Published in: Contributions to mineralogy and petrology. Beitrage zur Mineralogie und Petrologie
Rocks consist of crystal grains separated by grain boundaries that impact the bulk rock properties. Recent studies on metals and ceramics showed that the grain boundary plane orientation is more significant for grain boundary properties than other characteristics such as the sigma value or disorientation (in the Earth’s science community more frequently termed misorientation). We determined the grain boundary character distribution (GBCD) of synthetic and natural polycrystalline olivine, the most abundant mineral of Earth’s upper mantle. We show that grain boundaries of olivine preferentially contain low index planes, in agreement with recent findings on other oxides (e.g. MgO, TiO2, Al2O3 etc.). Furthermore, we find evidence for a preferred orientation relationship of 90° disorientations about the  direction forming tilt and twist grain boundaries, as well as a preference for the 60° disorientation about the  axis. Our data indicate that the GBCD, which is an intrinsic property of any mineral aggregate, is fundamental for understanding and predicting grain boundary related processes.