Post failure localization instabilities in chemically active creeping faults: Steady-state bifurcation and transient analysis

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sotirios Alevizos1, Thomas Poulet2 and Manolis Veveakis2, (1)National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Marousi Athens, Greece, (2)CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering Perth, Perth, WA, Australia
In this study we emphasize in the post failure evolution of a creeping fault, and provide temporal and spatial modes of evolution. In particular we study the behavior of a fluid-saturated fault under shear, based on the assumption that the fabric presents rate- and temperature dependent response to shear loading. A creeping fault of this type can, under certain conditions, produce excess heat due to shear heating, reaching temperatures which are high enough for triggering endothermic chemical reactions. We focus on the decomposition reactions and incorporate excess pore pressure generation and variations of the porosity due to the chemical effects (a process called chemical pressurization). After deriving the corresponding system of equations in the region of the ultra-cataclastic core, we study the influence of the model parameters, namely the frictional, hydraulic and chemical properties of the material, along with the boundary conditions of the problem, on the behavior of the fault and through a non-linear bifurcation analysis we provide regimes of stable-frictional sliding and pressurization. Furthermore, the system is integrated in time to extract its temporal behavior, providing regimes of stable creep, non-periodic and periodic seismic slip events due to chemical pressurization, depending on their frictional properties. It is shown that this chemically induced seismic slip is an ultra-localized event in the post failure regime. It takes place in an extremely narrow band, 2 orders of magnitude narrower than the initial one, verifying the field observations.