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Authors: Violay, M. E. S.* 
Nielsen, S. B.* 
Gibert, B.* 
Spagnuolo, E.* 
Cavallo, A.* 
Azais, P.* 
Vinciguerra, S.* 
Di Toro, G.* 
Title: Effect of water on the frictional behavior of cohesive rocks during earthquakes
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Series/Report no.: 1/42 (2013)
DOI: 10.1130/G34916.1
Keywords: carbonates faults
earthquake nucleation
rock mechanics
fluid-rcok interactions
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.06. Hydrothermal systems 
04. Solid Earth::04.01. Earth Interior::04.01.04. Mineral physics and properties of rocks 
04. Solid Earth::04.01. Earth Interior::04.01.05. Rheology 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.06. Rheology, friction, and structure of fault zones 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.01. Earthquake faults: properties and evolution 
Abstract: Fluid-rock interactions can control earthquake nucleation and the evolution of earthquake sequences. Experimental studies of fault frictional properties in the presence of fl uid can provide unique insights into these interactions. We report the fi rst results from experiments performed on cohesive silicate-bearing rocks (microgabbro) in the presence of pressurized pore fl uids (H2 O, drained conditions) at realistic seismic deformation conditions. The experimental data are compared with those recently obtained from carbonate-bearing rocks (Carrara marble). Contrary to theoretical arguments, and consistent with the interpretation of some fi eld observations, we show that frictional melting of a microgabbro develops in the presence of water. In microgabbro, the initial weakening mechanism (fl ash melting of the asperities) is delayed in the presence of water; conversely, in calcite marble the weakening mechanism (brittle failure of the asperities) is favored. This opposite behavior highlights the importance of host-rock composition in controlling dynamic (frictional) weakening in the presence of water: cohesive carbonate-bearing rocks are more prone to slip in the presence of water, whereas the presence of water might delay or inhibit the rupture nucleation and propagation in cohesive silicate-bearing rocks.
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