Document Detail

Earthquake slip weakening and asperities explained by thermal pressurization.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16079843     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
An earthquake occurs when a fault weakens during the early portion of its slip at a faster rate than the release of tectonic stress driving the fault motion. This slip weakening occurs over a critical distance, D(c). Understanding the controls on D(c) in nature is severely limited, however, because the physical mechanism of weakening is unconstrained. Conventional friction experiments, typically conducted at slow slip rates and small displacements, have obtained D(c) values that are orders of magnitude lower than values estimated from modelling seismological data for natural earthquakes. Here we present data on fluid transport properties of slip zone rocks and on the slip zone width in the centre of the Median Tectonic Line fault zone, Japan. We show that the discrepancy between laboratory and seismological results can be resolved if thermal pressurization of the pore fluid is the slip-weakening mechanism. Our analysis indicates that a planar fault segment with an impermeable and narrow slip zone will become very unstable during slip and is likely to be the site of a seismic asperity.
Christopher A J Wibberley; Toshihiko Shimamoto
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  436     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2005 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-08-04     Completed Date:  2005-08-22     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  689-92     Citation Subset:  -    
Géosciences Azur CNRS, Université de Nice - Sophia Antipolis, 250 rue A. Einstein, 06560 Valbonne, France.
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