Analysis of an in situ fault zone within the Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) provides clues to the relevant deformation mechanisms and their temporal evolution within oceanic crust. IODP EXP304/305 drilled a succession of gabbroic lithologies to a final depth of 1415 m below the sea floor (mbsf), with very high recovery rates of up to 100% (generally similar to 80%). We identified an intra-crustal fault zone between 720 and 780 mbsf in a section of massive gabbro, olivine gabbro, oxide gabbro units, and minor diabase intrusions of particular interest is the section between 744 and 750 mbsf, which unfortunately was marked by low recovery rates (17%). Electrical borehole-wall images show a I-m-thick zone of east-dipping fractures within this interval, which is otherwise dominated by N-S dipping structures. Despite the high fracture density in this section, the hole walls are smooth, with rare breakouts, suggesting that the low recovery rate was due to a change in lithology rather than well conditions. The recovered rocks include ultracataclasite and possibly incohesive fault gouge that formed in the upper amphibolite regime, with mostly amphibole infill. Logging data suggest that the gabbroic rocks in this interval are rich in hydrous phases, consistent with increased amounts of amphibole found in the core. Equilibration temperature conditions of about 640 degrees C were obtained for plagioclase clasts and aluminous actinolite, assuming a pressure of 200 MPa. The permeability of the fault zone is in the range of 10(-19) to 10(-17) m(2). Although the permeability appears to be high within the fault zone relative to other parts of the section, it is no higher than that in typical lower crustal material. As a consequence, because brittle failure occurred at high temperatures, the fault zone was subsequently completely sealed by hydrous minerals, thereby preventing further fluid circulation and preserving water in the crust. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.