Dynamically triggered slip leading to sustained fault gouge weakening under laboratory shear conditions

P. A. Johnson, J. Carmeliet, H. M. Savage, M. Scuderi, B. M. Carpenter, R. A. Guyer, E. G. Daub, C. Marone

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23 Scopus citations


We investigate dynamic wave-triggered slip under laboratory shear conditions. The experiment is composed of a three-block system containing two gouge layers composed of glass beads and held in place by a fixed load in a biaxial configuration. When the system is sheared under steady state conditions at a normal load of 4 MPa, we find that shear failure may be instantaneously triggered by a dynamic wave, corresponding to material weakening and softening if the system is in a critical shear stress state (near failure). Following triggering, the gouge material remains in a perturbed state over multiple slip cycles as evidenced by the recovery of the material strength, shear modulus, and slip recurrence time. This work suggests that faults must be critically stressed to trigger under dynamic conditions and that the recovery process following a dynamically triggered event differs from the recovery following a spontaneous event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1559-1565
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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