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Hamiel, Y, Katz O, Lyakhovsky V, Reches Z, Fialko Y.  2006.  Stable and unstable damage evolution in rocks with implications to fracturing of granite. Geophysical Journal International. 167:1005-1016.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03126.x   AbstractWebsite

We address the relation between the rock rigidity and crack density by comparing predictions of a viscoelastic damage rheology model to laboratory data that include direct microscopic mapping of cracks. The damage rheology provides a generalization of Hookean elasticity to a non-linear continuum mechanics framework incorporating degradation and recovery of the effective elastic properties, transition from stable to unstable fracturing, and gradual accumulation of irreversible deformation. This approach is based on the assumption that the density of microcracks is uniform over a length scale much larger than the length of a typical crack, yet much smaller than the size of the entire deforming domain. For a system with a sufficiently large number of cracks, one can define a representative volume in which the crack density is uniform and introduce an intensive damage variable for this volume. We tested our viscoelastic damage rheology against sets of laboratory experiments done on Mount Scott granite. Based on fitting the entire stress-strain records the damage variable is constrained, and found to be a linear function of the crack density. An advantage of these sets experiments is that they were preformed with different loading paths and explicitly demonstrated the existence of stable and unstable fracturing regimes. We demonstrate that the viscoelastic damage rheology provides an adequate quantitative description of the brittle rock deformation and simulates both the stable and unstable damage evolution under various loading conditions. Comparison between the presented data analysis of experiments with Mount Scott granite and previous results with Westerly granite and Berea sandstone indicates that granular or porous rocks have lower seismic coupling. This implies that the portion of elastic strain released during a seismic cycle as brittle deformation depends on the lithology of the region. Hence, upper crustal regions with thick sedimentary cover, or fault zones with high degree of damage are expected to undergo a more significant inelastic deformation in the interseismic period compared to 'intact' crystalline rocks.

Hamiel, Y, Fialko Y.  2007.  Structure and mechanical properties of faults in the North Anatolian Fault system from InSAR observations of coseismic deformation due to the 1999 Izmit (Turkey) earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112   10.1029/2006jb004777   AbstractWebsite

We study the structure and mechanical properties of faults in the North Anatolian Fault system by observing near-fault deformation induced by the 1999 M-w 7.4 Izmit earthquake (Turkey). We use interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System observations to analyze the coseismic surface deformation in the near field of the Izmit rupture. The overall observed coseismic deformation is consistent with deformation predicted by a dislocation model assuming a uniform elastic crust. Previous InSAR studies revealed small-scale changes in the radar range across the nearby faults of the North Anatolian fault system (in particular, the Mudurnu Valley and Iznik faults) (e.g., Wright et al., 2001). We demonstrate that these anomalous range changes are consistent with an elastic response of compliant fault zones to the stress perturbation induced by the Izmit earthquake. We examine the spatial variations and mechanical properties of fault zones around the Mudurnu Valley and Iznik faults using three-dimensional finite element models. In these models, we include compliant fault zones having various geometries and elastic properties and apply stress changes deduced from a kinematic slip model of the Izmit earthquake. The best fitting models suggest that the inferred fault zones have a characteristic width of a few kilometers, depth in excess of 10 km, and reductions in the effective shear modulus of about a factor of 3 compared to the surrounding rocks. The characteristic width of the best fitting fault zone models is consistent with field observations along the North Anatolian Fault system (Ambraseys, 1970). Our results are also in agreement with InSAR observations of small-scale deformation on faults in the Eastern California Shear Zone in response to the 1992 Landers and 1999 Hector Mine earthquakes (Fialko et al., 2002; Fialko, 2004). The inferred compliant fault zones likely represent intense damage and may be quite commonly associated with large crustal faults.

Hearn, EH, Fialko Y.  2009.  Can compliant fault zones be used to measure absolute stresses in the upper crust? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb005901   AbstractWebsite

Geodetic and seismic observations reveal long-lived zones with reduced elastic moduli along active crustal faults. These fault zones localize strain from nearby earthquakes, consistent with the response of a compliant, elastic layer. Fault zone trapped wave studies documented a small reduction in P and S wave velocities along the Johnson Valley Fault caused by the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake. This reduction presumably perturbed a permanent compliant structure associated with the fault. The inferred changes in the fault zone compliance may produce a measurable deformation in response to background (tectonic) stresses. This deformation should have the same sense as the background stress, rather than the coseismic stress change. Here we investigate how the observed deformation of compliant zones in the Mojave Desert can be used to constrain the fault zone structure and stresses in the upper crust. We find that gravitational contraction of the coseismically softened zones should cause centimeters of coseismic subsidence of both the compliant zones and the surrounding region, unless the compliant fault zones are shallow and narrow, or essentially incompressible. We prefer the latter interpretation because profiles of line of sight displacements across compliant zones cannot be fit by a narrow, shallow compliant zone. Strain of the Camp Rock and Pinto Mountain fault zones during the Hector Mine and Landers earthquakes suggests that background deviatoric stresses are broadly consistent with Mohr-Coulomb theory in the Mojave upper crust (with mu >= 0.7). Large uncertainties in Mojave compliant zone properties and geometry preclude more precise estimates of crustal stresses in this region. With improved imaging of the geometry and elastic properties of compliant zones, and with precise measurements of their strain in response to future earthquakes, the modeling approach we describe here may eventually provide robust estimates of absolute crustal stress.