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Authors: Smith, S. A. F.*
Faulkner, D.*
Title: Laboratory measurements of the frictional properties of the Zuccale 3 low-angle normal fault, Elba Island, Italy
Title of journal: Journal of Geophysical Research
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Issue Date: Oct-2009
DOI: 10.1029/2008JB006274
Keywords: Friction
Low-Angle Normal Faults
Abstract: Using a case study from the island of Elba, Italy, we seek to test the hypothesis that 7 the presence of minerals with low frictional strengths can explain prolonged slip on 8 low-angle normal faults. The central core of the Zuccale low-angle normal fault 9 contains a distinctive fault rock zonation that developed during progressive exhumation. 10 Most fault rock components preserve microstructural evidence for having accommodated 11 deformation entirely, or partly, by frictional mechanisms. One millimeter thick sample 12 powders of all the major fault rock components were deformed in a triaxial deformation 13 apparatus under water-saturated conditions, at room temperature, and at constant effective 14 normal stresses of 25, 50, and 75 MPa. Pore fluid pressure was maintained at 50 MPa 15 throughout. Overall, the coefficient of friction (m) of the fault rocks varies between 16 0.25 and 0.8, emphasizing the marked strength heterogeneity that may exist within 17 natural fault zones. Also, m is strongly dependent on fault rock mineralogy and is 18 <0.45 for fault rocks containing talc, chlorite, and kaolinite and >0.6 for fault rocks 19 dominated by quartz, dolomite, calcite, and amphibole. Localization of frictional slip 20 within talc-rich portions of the fault core can potentially explain movements along the 21 Zuccale fault over a wide range of depths within the upper crust, although the 22 mechanical importance of the talc-bearing fault rocks likely decreased following their 23 dismemberment into a series of poorly connected fault rock lenses. Additionally, slip 24 within clay-bearing fault gouges with m between 0.4 and 0.5 may have facilitated 25 movements in the uppermost (<2 km) crust. For several other fault rock components, 26 m varies between 0.5 and 0.8, and mineralogical weakening alone is insufficient to 27 account for low-angle slip. In the latter fault rock components, other weakening 28 mechanisms such as the development of high fluid pressures, or dissolution-precipitation 29 creep, may have been particularly important in reducing fault strength.
Appears in Collections:04.04.06. Rheology, friction, and structure of fault zones
Papers Published / Papers in press

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