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Non linear dynamical triggering of slow slip,


IPGP - Îlot Cuvier


Séminaires de Sismologie

Salle 310

Paul A. Johnson, Los Alamos

Abstract: Among the most fascinating, recent discoveries in seismology have been the phenomena of triggered slip, including triggered earthquakes and triggered-tremor, as well as triggered slow, silent-slip during which no seismic energy is radiated. Because fault nucleation depths cannot be probed directly, the physical regimes in which these phenomena occur are poorly understood. Thus determining physical properties that control diverse types of triggered fault sliding and what frictional constitutive laws govern triggered faulting variability is challenging. We are characterizing the physical controls of triggered faulting with the goal of developing constitutive relations by conducting laboratory and numerical modeling experiments in sheared granular media at varying load conditions. In order to simulate granular fault zone gouge in the laboratory, glass beads are sheared in a double-direct configuration under constant normal stress, while subject to transient perturbation by acoustic waves. We find that triggered, slow, silent-slip occurs at very small confining loads (~1-3 MPa) that are smaller than those where dynamic earthquake triggering takes place (4-7 MPa), and that triggered slow-slip is associated with bursts of LFE-like acoustic emission. Experimental evidence suggests that the nonlinear dynamical response of the gouge material induced by dynamic waves may be responsible for the triggered slip behavior: the slip-duration, stress-drop and along-strike slip displacement are proportional to the triggering wave amplitude. Further, we observe a shear-modulus decrease corresponding to dynamic-wave triggering relative to the shear modulus of stick-slips. Modulus decrease in response to dynamical wave amplitudes of roughly a microstrain and above is a hallmark of elastic nonlinear behavior. We believe that the dynamical waves increase the material non-affine elastic deformation during shearing, simultaneously leading to instability and slow-slip. The inferred triggered slow-slip on the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield, CA., due to December, 2003 Mw6.5 San Simeon Earthquake (Breguier et al., Science 321, p.1478, 2008) shows very similar characteristics to what we observe in the laboratory, suggesting an extremely low in situ effective stress or a weak fault and a nonlinear-dynamical triggering mechanism.