Recent high-resolution GPS and seismological data reveal that tectonic faults exhibit complex, multi-mode slip behavior including earthquakes, creep events, slow and silent earthquakes, low-frequency events and earthquake afterslip. The physical processes responsible for this range of behavior and the mechanisms that dictate fault slip rate or rupture propagation velocity are poorly understood. One avenue for improving knowledge of these mechanisms involves coupling direct observations of ancient faults exhumed at the Earth's surface with laboratory experiments on the frictional properties of the fault rocks. Here, we show that fault zone structure has an important influence on mixed-mode fault slip behavior. Our field studies depict a complex fault zone structurewhere foliated horizons surround meter- to decameter-sized lenses of competentmaterial. The foliated rocks are composed ofweak mineral phases, possess lowfrictional strength, and exhibit inherently stable, velocity- strengthening frictional behavior. In contrast, the competent lenses are made of strong minerals, possess high frictional strength, and exhibit potentially unstable, velocity-weakening frictional behavior. Tectonic loading of this heterogeneous fault zone may initially result in fault creep along the weak and frictionally stable foliated horizons. With continued deformation, fault creepwill concentrate stresswithin and around the strong and potentially unstable competent lenses, which may lead to earthquake nucleation. Our studies provide field and mechanical constraints for complex, mixed-mode fault slip behavior ranging fromrepeating earthquakes to transient slip, episodic slow-slip and creep events.

Collettini, C., Niemeijer, A., Viti, C., SMITH S. A., F., & Marone, C. (2011). Fault structure, frictional properties and mixed-mode fault slip behavior. EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 311(3-4), 316-327 [10.1016/j.epsl.2011.09.020].

Fault structure, frictional properties and mixed-mode fault slip behavior

VITI, CECILIA;
2011

Abstract

Recent high-resolution GPS and seismological data reveal that tectonic faults exhibit complex, multi-mode slip behavior including earthquakes, creep events, slow and silent earthquakes, low-frequency events and earthquake afterslip. The physical processes responsible for this range of behavior and the mechanisms that dictate fault slip rate or rupture propagation velocity are poorly understood. One avenue for improving knowledge of these mechanisms involves coupling direct observations of ancient faults exhumed at the Earth's surface with laboratory experiments on the frictional properties of the fault rocks. Here, we show that fault zone structure has an important influence on mixed-mode fault slip behavior. Our field studies depict a complex fault zone structurewhere foliated horizons surround meter- to decameter-sized lenses of competentmaterial. The foliated rocks are composed ofweak mineral phases, possess lowfrictional strength, and exhibit inherently stable, velocity- strengthening frictional behavior. In contrast, the competent lenses are made of strong minerals, possess high frictional strength, and exhibit potentially unstable, velocity-weakening frictional behavior. Tectonic loading of this heterogeneous fault zone may initially result in fault creep along the weak and frictionally stable foliated horizons. With continued deformation, fault creepwill concentrate stresswithin and around the strong and potentially unstable competent lenses, which may lead to earthquake nucleation. Our studies provide field and mechanical constraints for complex, mixed-mode fault slip behavior ranging fromrepeating earthquakes to transient slip, episodic slow-slip and creep events.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11365/23167