Thermo-poro-mechanics of chemically active creeping faults: 2. Transient considerations

TitleThermo-poro-mechanics of chemically active creeping faults: 2. Transient considerations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsE Veveakis, T Poulet, and S Alevizos
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Start Page4583
Pagination4583 - 4605
Date Published01/2014

This work studies the transient behavior of a chemically active, fluid-saturated fault zone under shear. These fault zones are displaying a plethora of responses spanning from ultrafast instabilities, like thermal pressurization, to extremely slow creep localization events on geological timescales. These instabilities can be described by a single model of a rate-dependent and thermally dependent fault, prone to fluid release reactions at critical temperatures which was introduced in our companion work. In this study we integrate it in time to provide regimes of stable creep, nonperiodic and periodic seismic slip events due to chemical pressurization, depending on the physical properties of the fault material. It is shown that this chemically induced seismic slip takes place in an extremely localized band, several orders of magnitude narrower than the initial shear zone, which is indeed the signature field observation. Furthermore, in the field and in laboratory experiments the ultralocalized deformation is embedded in a chemical process zone that forms part of the shear zone. The width of this zone is shown here to depend on the net activation energy of the chemical reaction. The larger the difference in forward and backward activation energies, the narrower is the chemical process zone. We apply the novel findings to invert the physical parameters from a 16year GPS observation of the Cascadia episodic tremor and slip events and show that this sequence is the fundamental mode of a serpentinite oscillator defined by slow strain localization accompanying shear heating and chemical dehydration reaction at the critical point, followed by diffusion and backward reaction leading the system back to slow slip. Key Points Rate and state (temperature) friction for shear zones We provide the timescales and period of instabilities Identify the dominant physical mechanisms for the fault's evolution ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Short TitleJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth