Seismic events miss important kinematically governed grain scale mechanisms during shear failure of porous rock

Alexis Cartwright-Taylor*, Maria-Daphne Mangriotis, Ian G. Main, Ian B. Butler, Florian Fusseis, Martin Ling, Edward Andò, Andrew Curtis, Andrew F. Bell, Alyssa Crippen, Roberto E. Rizzo, Sina Marti, Derek D. V. Leung, Oxana V. Magdysyuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Catastrophic failure in brittle, porous materials initiates when smaller-scale fractures localise along an emergent fault zone in a transition from stable crack growth to dynamic rupture. Due to the rapid nature of this critical transition, the precise micro-mechanisms involved are poorly understood and difficult to image directly. Here, we observe these micro-mechanisms directly by controlling the microcracking rate to slow down the transition in a unique rock deformation experiment that combines acoustic monitoring (sound) with contemporaneous in-situ x-ray imaging (vision) of the microstructure. We find seismic amplitude is not always correlated with local imaged strain; large local strain often occurs with small acoustic emissions, and vice versa. Local strain is predominantly aseismic, explained in part by grain/crack rotation along an emergent shear zone, and the shear fracture energy calculated from local dilation and shear strain on the fault is half of that inferred from the bulk deformation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6169
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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