Effects of loading rate and normal stress on stress drop and stick-slip recurrence interval

Stephen L. Karner, Chris Marone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

77 Scopus citations


In this paper we report on investigations of frictional rcstrcngthcning during repetitive stick-slip on initially bare granite surfaces (nominal contact area 25 cm2). The tests were conducted in a double-direct shear apparatus at room-temperature and humidity. Normal stress was held constant, and shear was induced by controlling the velocity of a loading piston. Samples exhibited quasi-periodic stick-slip instabilities. Appreciable yielding and precursory creep occur prior to failure. Stress drop amplitudes range from 0.1 to 3.1 MPa (or 4-49% of the failure strength). We study the effects of loading rate (0.5 to 300 µm/s) and normal load (5 and 10 MPa) on stress drop and stick-slip recurrence interval. At a given loading rate, there is a positive correlation between stress drop and recurrence interval, indicating nealing rates of ~4 MPa per decade increase in recurrence time. However, the combined data from all velocities show a lower rate, suggesting an apparent healing rate of ~1 MPa per decade increase in recurrence time. We find a consistent scaling between different loading rates when stress drop is compared to inter-event loading displacement. The data for all velocities delineate a single trend and show larger stress drops for greater pre-failure loading displacement. Failure strength and post-slip stress levels converge with increasing velocity. Our data indicate that stress drop and post-seismic stress levels depend on loading rate and recurrence interval in a complex way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeocomplexity and the Physics of Earthquakes, 2000
EditorsDonald L. Turcotte, William Klein, John B. Rundle
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781118668375
ISBN (Print)9780875909783
StatePublished - 2000

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics


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