Heating, weakening and shear localization in earthquake rupture
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CitationRice, James. 2017. Heating, Weakening and Shear Localization in Earthquake Rupture. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 375: 20160015.
AbstractField and borehole observations of active earthquake fault zones show that shear is often localized to principal deforming zones of order 0.1-10 mm width. This paper addresses how frictional heating in rapid slip weakens faults dramatically, relative to their static frictional strength, and promotes such intense localization. Pronounced weakening occurs even on dry rock-on-rock surfaces, due to flash heating effects, at slip rates above approximately 0.1 m s-1 (earthquake slip rates are typically of the order of 1 m s-1). But weakening in rapid shear is also predicted theoretically in thick fault gouge in the presence of fluids (whether native ground fluids or volatiles such as H2O or CO2 released by thermal decomposition reactions), and the predicted localizations are compatible with such narrow shear zones as have been observed. The underlying concepts show how fault zone materials with high static friction coefficients, approximately 0.6-0.8, can undergo strongly localized shear at effective dynamic friction coefficients of the order of 0.1, thus fitting observational constraints, e.g. of earthquakes producing negligible surface heat outflow and, for shallow events, only rarely creating extensive melt. The results to be summarized include those of collaborative research published with Nicolas Brantut (University College London), Eric Dunham (Stanford University), Nadia Lapusta (Caltech), Hiroyuki Noda (JAMSTEC, Japan), John D. Platt (Carnegie Institution for Science, now at *gramLabs), Alan Rempel (Oregon State University) and John W. Rudnicki (Northwestern University). This article is part of the themed issue 'Faulting, friction and weakening: from slow to fast motion.
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