We review transient creep and semibrittle behavior of crystalline solids. The results are expected to be pertinent to crystalline rocks undergoing deformation in the depth range 5 to 20 km, corresponding to depths of focus of many major earthquakes. Transient creep data for crystalline rocks at elevated temperatures are analyzed but are poorly understood because of lack of information on the deformation processes which, at low to moderate pressure, are likely to be semibrittle in nature. Activation energies for transient creep at high effective confining pressure are much higher than those found for atmospheric pressure tests in which thermally-activated microfracturing probably dominates the creep rate. Empirical transient creep equations are extrapolated at 200?? to 600??C, stresses from 0.1 to 1.0 kbar, to times ranging from 3.17??102 to 3.17??108 years. At the higher temperatures, appreciable transient creep strains may take place but the physical significance of the results is in question because the flow mechanisms have not been determined. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate careful research on this important topic. ?? 1978 Birkha??user Verlag.
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Transient creep and semibrittle behavior of crystalline rocks