Modeling episodic fluid-release events in the ductile carbonates of the Glarus thrust

TitleModeling episodic fluid-release events in the ductile carbonates of the Glarus thrust
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsT Poulet, M Veveakis, M Herwegh, T Buckingham, and K Regenauer-Lieb
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Start Page7121
Pagination7121 - 7128
Date Published10/2014

The exposed Glarus thrust displays midcrustal deformation with tens of kilometers of displacement on an ultrathin layer, the principal slip zone (PSZ). Geological observations indicate that this structure resulted from repeated stick-slip events in the presence of highly overpressured fluids. Here we show that the major characteristics of the Glarus thrust movement (localization, periodicity, and evidence of pressurized fluids) can be reconciled by the coupling of two processes, namely, shear heating and fluid release by carbonate decomposition. During this coupling, slow ductile creep deformation raises the temperature through shear heating and ultimately activates the chemical decomposition of carbonates. The subsequent release of highly overpressurized fluids forms and lubricates the PSZ, allowing a ductile fault to move tens of kilometers on millimeter-thick bands in episodic stick-slip events. This model identifies carbonate decomposition as a key process for motion on the Glarus thrust and explains the source of overpressured fluids accessing the PSZ. Key Points Oscillating brittle-ductile deformation processes explained by energy feedbackMultiscale time-space observations in the Glarus thrust explained by one modelThe Glarus thrust exposes spatial patterns of episodic fluid-release slip events

Short TitleGeophysical Research Letters