Geophysics: Ultralow friction of carbonate faults caused by thermal decomposition

Raehee Han, Toshihiko Shimamoto, Takehiro Hirose, Jin-Han Lee, Jun Ichi Ando

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286 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High-velocity weakening of faults may drive fault motion during large earthquakes. Experiments on simulated faults in Carrara marble at slip rates up to 1.3 meters per second demonstrate that thermal decomposition of calcite due to frictional heating induces pronounced fault weakening with steady-state friction coefficients as low as 0.06. Decomposition produces particles of tens of nanometers in size, and the ultralow friction appears to be associated with the flash heating on an ultrafine decomposition product. Thus, thermal decomposition may be an important process for the dynamic weakening of faults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-881
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume316
Issue number5826
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May 11

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