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Authors: Griffith, W. A.* 
Di Toro, G.* 
Pennacchioni, G.* 
Pollard, D. D.* 
Nielsen, S.* 
Title: Static stress drop associated with brittle slip events on exhumed faults
Issue Date: 2008
Keywords: Fault
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.06. Rheology, friction, and structure of fault zones 
Abstract: We estimate the static stress drop on small exhumed strike-slip faults in the Lake Edison granodiorite of the central Sierra Nevada (California). The sub-vertical strike-slip faults were exhumed from 4-15 km depth, and were chosen because they are exposed in outcrop along their entire tip-to-tip lengths of 8-12 m. Slip nucleated on joints and accumulated by ductile shearing (forming quartz mylonites from early quartz vein filling in joints) and successive brittle faulting (forming epidote-bearing cataclasites). The occurrence of thin, < 1 mm wide, pseudotachylytes along some small faults throughout the study area suggests that some portion of the brittle slip was seismic. We suggest that the contribution of seismic slip to the total slip along the studied cataclasite-bearing small faults may be estimated by the length of epidote-filled, rhombohedral dilatational jogs (rhombochasms) distributed semi-periodically along the length of the faults. The interpretation that slip recorded by rhombochasms occurred in single events is based on evidence that: 1) epidote crystals are randomly oriented and undeformed within the rhombochasm; and 2) cataclasite structure in principal slip zones does not include clasts of previous cataclasite. We thereby constrain both the rupture length and slip. Based on these measurements, we calculate stress drops ranging over 90-250 MPa, i.e., one to two orders of magnitude larger than typical seismological estimates for earthquakes, but similar in magnitude to recent observations of small (< M2) earthquakes from the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD). These inferred seismic ruptures occurred along small, deep-seated faults, and, given the calculated stress drops and observations that brittle faults exploited joints sealed by quartz-bearing mylonite, we conclude that these were “strong” faults.
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