We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Thermo-mechanical pressurization of experimental faults in cohesive rocks during seismic slip.

Violay, M. and Di Toro, G. and Nielsen, S. and Spagnuolo, E. and Burg, J.P. (2015) 'Thermo-mechanical pressurization of experimental faults in cohesive rocks during seismic slip.', Earth and planetary science letters., 429 . pp. 1-10.


Earthquakes occur because fault friction weakens with increasing slip and slip rates. Since the slipping zones of faults are often fluid-saturated, thermo-mechanical pressurization of pore fluids has been invoked as a mechanism responsible for frictional dynamic weakening, but experimental evidence is lacking. We performed friction experiments (normal stress 25 MPa, maximal slip-rate ∼3 ms−1) on cohesive basalt and marble under (1) room-humidity and (2) immersed in liquid water (drained and undrained) conditions. In both rock types and independently of the presence of fluids, up to 80% of frictional weakening was measured in the first 5 cm of slip. Modest pressurization-related weakening appears only at later stages of slip. Thermo-mechanical pressurization weakening of cohesive rocks can be negligible during earthquakes due to the triggering of more efficient fault lubrication mechanisms (flash heating, frictional melting, etc.).

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Friction, Earthquakes, Fluids, Thermo-mechanical pressurization, Basalt, Marble.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2015 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:24 July 2015
Date deposited:29 September 2015
Date of first online publication:07 August 2015
Date first made open access:07 August 2016

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar