Dynamic Weakening by Acoustic Fluidization during Stick-Slip Motion
de Arcangelis, L.
Pica Ciamarra, Massimo
Date of Issue2015
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
The unexpected weakness of some faults has been attributed to the emergence of acoustic waves that promote failure by reducing the confining pressure through a mechanism known as acoustic fluidization, also proposed to explain earthquake remote triggering. Here we validate this mechanism via the numerical investigation of a granular fault model system. We find that the stick-slip dynamics is affected only by perturbations applied at a characteristic frequency corresponding to oscillations normal to the fault, leading to gradual dynamical weakening as failure is approaching. Acoustic waves at the same frequency spontaneously emerge at the onset of failure in the absence of perturbations, supporting the relevance of acoustic fluidization in earthquake triggering.
Physics and Applied Physics
Physical Review Letters
© 2015 American Physical Society. This paper was published in Physical Review Letters and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Physical Society. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.128001]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.