A new technique for quantifying symmetry and opening angles in quartz c-axis pole figures: Implications for interpreting the kinematic and thermal properties of rocks

N. J.R. Hunter, R. F. Weinberg, C. J.L. Wilson, R. D. Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Variations in flow kinematics influence the type of crystallographic preferred orientations (CPOs) in plastically deformed quartz, yet we currently lack a robust means of quantifying the diagnostic symmetries that develop in the c-axis (0001) pole figure. In this contribution, we demonstrate how the symmetry of common c-axis topologies may be quantified by analysing the intensity distribution across a line transect of the pole figure margin. A symmetry value (S) measures the relative difference in intensities between marginal girdle maxima in the pole figure, and thus the degree to which the pole figure defines orthorhombic or monoclinic end member symmetries. This provides a semi-quantitative depiction of whether the rocks underwent coaxial or non-coaxial flow, respectively, and may subsequently be used to quantify other topological properties, such as the opening angle of girdle maxima. The open source Matlab® toolbox MTEX is used to quantify pole figure symmetries in quartzite samples from the Main Central Thrust (NW Himalaya) and the Moine Thrust (NW Scotland).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO)
  • Kinematics
  • Pole figure
  • Quartz
  • Strain analysis
  • Symmetry

Cite this