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Fialko, Y, Khazan Y.  2005.  Fusion by earthquake fault friction: Stick or slip? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 110   10.1029/2005jb003869   AbstractWebsite

[1] Field observations of pseudotachylites and experimental studies of high-speed friction indicate that melting on a slipping interface may significantly affect the magnitude of shear stresses resisting slip. We investigate the effects of rock melting on the dynamic friction using theoretical models of shear heating that couple heat transfer, thermodynamics of phase transitions, and fluid mechanics. Results of laboratory experiments conducted at high ( order of m/s) slip velocities but low ( order of MPa) normal stresses suggest that the onset of frictional melting may give rise to substantial increases in the effective fault strength, presumably due to viscous effects. However, extrapolation of the modeling results to in situ conditions suggests that the efficiency of viscous braking is significantly reduced under high normal and shear stresses. When transient increases in the dynamic fault strength due to fusion are not sufficient to inhibit slip, decreases in the effective melt viscosity due to shear heating and melting of clasts drastically decrease the dynamic friction, resulting in a nearly complete stress drop ("thermal runaway''). The amount of energy dissipation associated with the formation of pseudotachylites is governed by the temperature dependence of melt viscosity and the average clast size in the fault gouge prior to melting. Clasts from a coarse-grained gouge have lower chances of survival in a pseudotachylite due to a higher likelihood of nonequilibrium overheating. The maximum temperature and energy dissipation attainable on the fault surface are ultimately limited by either the rock solidus ( via viscous braking, and slip arrest) or liquidus ( via thermal runaway and vanishing resistance to sliding). Our modeling results indicate that the thermally activated fault strengthening and rupture arrest are unlikely to occur in most mafic protoliths but might be relevant for quartz-rich rocks, especially at shallow (< 5 - 7 km) depths where the driving shear stress is relatively low.

Mitchell, EK, Fialko Y, Brown KM.  2015.  Frictional properties of gabbro at conditions corresponding to slow slip events in subduction zones. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 16:4006-4020.   10.1002/2015gc006093   AbstractWebsite

We conducted a series of experiments to explore the rate and state frictional properties of gabbro at conditions thought to be representative of slow slip events (SSEs) in subduction zones. The experiments were conducted using a heated direct shear apparatus. We tested both solid and simulated gouge samples at low effective normal stress (5-30 MPa) over a broad range of temperatures (20-600 degrees C) under dry and hydrated conditions. In tests performed on dry solid samples, we observed stable sliding at low temperatures (20-150 degrees C), stick slip at high temperatures (350-600 degrees C), and a transitional "episodic slow slip'' behavior at intermediate temperatures (200-300 degrees C). In tests performed on dry gouge samples, we observed stable sliding at all temperatures. Under hydrated conditions, the gouge samples exhibited episodic slow slip and stick-slip behavior at temperatures between 300 and 500 degrees C. Our results show a decrease in the rate parameter (a - b) with temperature for both solid and gouge samples; friction transitions from velocity strengthening to velocity weakening at temperature of about 150 degrees C for both solid and gouge samples. We do not observe transition to velocity-strengthening friction at the high end of the tested temperature range. Our results suggest that the occurrence of slow slip events and the downdip limit of the seismogenic zone on subduction megathrusts cannot be solely explained by the temperature dependence of frictional properties of gabbro. Further experimental studies are needed to evaluate the effects of water fugacity and compositional heterogeneity (e. g., the presence of phyllosilicates) on frictional stability of subduction megathrusts.

Khazan, YM, Fialko YA.  1995.  Fracture Criteria at the Tip of Fluid-Driven Cracks in the Earth. Geophysical Research Letters. 22:2541-2544.   10.1029/95gl02547   AbstractWebsite

The effect of high confining pressure on fluid-filled crack growth is considered. Exact solutions are given for a two-dimensional horizontal crack in an infinite elastic body using the approximation of Dugdale-Barenblatt (DB) model. It is shown that for equilibrium cracks (i.e. for cracks on the verge of propagation) the large-scale crack characteristics, such as fluid overpressure, apparent fracture toughness, maximum opening of the crack and crack volume, grow with increase of confining pressure. These effects result from a pressure induced fracture resistance (PIFR). If basic parameters of the DB model (tensile strength and critical crack opening displacement) are independent of confining pressure then PIFR dominates over intrinsic rock strength starting from quite shallow depth (tens to hundreds of meters).

Fialko, Y.  2007.  Fracture and Frictional Mechanics - Theory. Treatise on geophysics. 4( Schubert G, Ed.)., Amsterdam ; Boston: Elsevier
Barbot, S, Fialko Y.  2010.  Fourier-domain Green's function for an elastic semi-infinite solid under gravity, with applications to earthquake and volcano deformation. Geophysical Journal International. 182:568-582.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04655.x   AbstractWebsite

We present an analytic solution in the Fourier domain for an elastic deformation in a semi-infinite solid due to an arbitrary surface traction. We generalize the so-called Boussinesq's and Cerruti's problems to include a restoring buoyancy boundary condition at the surface. Buoyancy due to a large density contrast at the Earth's surface is an approximation to the full effect of gravity that neglects the perturbation of the gravitational potential and the change in density in the interior. Using the perturbation method, and assuming that the effect of gravity is small compared to the elastic deformation, we derive an approximation in the space domain to the Boussinesq's problem that accounts for a buoyancy boundary condition at the surface. The Fourier- and space-domain solutions are shown to be in good agreement. Numerous problems of elastostatic or quasi-static time-dependent deformation relevant to faulting in the Earth's interior (including inelastic deformation) can be modelled using equivalent body forces and surface tractions. Solving the governing equations with the elastic Green's function in the space domain can be impractical as the body force can be distributed over a large volume. We present a computationally efficient method to evaluate the elastic deformation in a 3-D half space due to the presence of an arbitrary distribution of internal forces and tractions at the surface of the half space. We first evaluate the elastic deformation in a periodic Cartesian volume in the Fourier domain, then use the analytic solutions to the generalized Boussinesq's and Cerruti's problems to satisfy the prescribed mixed boundary condition at the surface. We show some applications for magmatic intrusions and faulting. This approach can be used to solve elastostatic problems involving spatially heterogeneous elastic properties (by employing a homogenization method) and time-dependent problems such as non-linear viscoelastic relaxation, poroelastic rebound and non-steady fault creep under the assumption of spatially homogeneous elastic properties.

Fialko, Y, Simons M, Khazan Y.  2001.  Finite source modelling of magmatic unrest in Socorro, New Mexico, and Long Valley, California. Geophysical Journal International. 146:191-200.   10.1046/j.1365-246X.2001.00453.x   AbstractWebsite

We investigate surface deformation associated with currently active crustal magma bodies in Socorro, New Mexico, and Long Valley, California, USA. We invert available geodetic data from these locations to constrain the overall geometry and dynamics of the inferred deformation sources at depth. Our brst-fitting model for the Socorro magma body is a sill with a depth of 19 km, an effective diameter of 70 km and a rate of increase in the excess magma pressure of 0.6 kPa yr(-1). We show that the corresponding volumetric inflation rate is similar to6 x 10(-3) km(3) yr(-1), which is considerably less than previously suggested. The measured inflation rate of the Socorro magma body may result from a steady influx of magma from a deep source, or a volume increase associated with melting of the magma chamber roof (i.e. crustal anatexis). In the latter case, the most recent major injection of mantle-derived melts into the middle crust beneath Socorro map have occurred within the last several tens to several hundreds of years. The Synthetic Interferometric Aperture Radar (InSAR) data collected in the area of the Long Valley caldera, CA, between June 1996 and July 1998 reveal an intracaldera uplift with a maximum amplitude of similar to 11 cm and a volume of 3.5 x 10(-2) km(3). Modelling of the InSAR data suggests that the observed deformation might be due to either a sill-like magma body at a depth of similar to 12 km or a pluton-like magma body at a depth of similar to8 km beneath the resurgent dome. Assuming that the caldera fill deforms as an isotropic linear elastic solid, a joint inversion of the InSAR data and two-colons laser geodimeter data (which provide independent constraints on horizontal displacements at the surface) suggests that the inferred magma chamber is a steeply dipping prolate spheroid with a depth of 7-9 km and an aspect ratio in excess of 2:1. Our results highlight the need for large radar look angles and multiple look directions in future InSAR missions.