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Authors: Violay, M.* 
Di Toro, Giulio* 
Nielsen, S.* 
Spagnuolo, Elena* 
Burg, J. P.* 
Title: Thermo-mechanical pressurization of experimental faults in cohesive rocks during seismic slip
Issue Date: 2015
Series/Report no.: /429 (2015)
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.07.054
Abstract: Earthquakes occur because fault friction weakens with increasing slip and slip rates. Since the slipping zones of faults are often fluid-saturated, thermo-mechanical pressurization of pore fluids has been invoked as a mechanism responsible for frictional dynamic weakening, but experimental evidence is lacking. We performed friction experiments (normal stress 25 MPa, maximal slip-rate ~3 ms-1) on cohesive basalt and marble under (1) room-humidity and (2) immersed in liquid water (drained and undrained) conditions. In both rock types and independently of the presence of fluids, up to 80% of frictional weakening was measured in the first 5 cm of slip. Modest pressurization-related weakening appears only at later stages of slip. Thermo-mechanical pressurization weakening of cohesive rocks can be negligible during earthquakes due to the triggering of more efficient fault lubrication mechanisms (flash heating, frictional melting, etc.). © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
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