Dynamics and Materials Physics of Fault Rupture and Glacial Processes
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CitationPlatt, John Daniel. 2015. Dynamics and Materials Physics of Fault Rupture and Glacial Processes. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis thesis focuses on two main topics, the physics governing how faults rapidly weaken during an earthquake and the thermal and mechanical structure of ice stream shear margins. The common theme linking these two projects is the desire to understand how the complicated interactions between stress and temperature control deformation and failure. All of the problems in this thesis are attacked using a combination of analytic and numerical methods, and the interplay between these two approaches provides a powerful way to understand the different physical balances that dominate in different regimes. We also use aspects of materials science to understand how the often complicated rheologies are controlled by underlying physical phenomena such as melting, phase transitions, diffusion, and dislocation motion. With regards to fault mechanics, we begin by showing how co-seismic weakening mechanisms driven by elevated pore fluid pressures lead to micron-scale strain localization during an earthquake. We solve for the localized zone thickness for a range of fault temperatures, test these predictions using numerical simulations, and show how the onset of localization accelerates fault weakening. Next we present the first solutions to account for thermal decomposition reactions during a dynamic rupture, showing that the activation of thermal decomposition may lead to a larger slip duration and total slip. Finally we present a new set of experiments studying flash heating of serpentinite, highlighting the dependence of friction on normal stress and the presence of gouge, and producing the first model to explain the hysteresis commonly observed in flash heating experiments. With regards to ice stream shear margins, we begin by extending the work of Perol and Rice  to study the formation of temperate ice in shear margins, and quantify the total melt that may be generated within the shear margins. We conclude by investigating how the presence of such a channel alters the stress on and strength of the undeforming bed in the shear margin, showing that the transition from a deforming to an undeforming bed across a channel is stable when the water flux in the channel exceeds a critical value.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:14226054
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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