The coefficient of friction and velocity dependence of friction of initially bare surfaces and 1-mm-thick simulated fault gouges (< 90 ??m) of Westerly granite were determined as a function of displacement to >400 mm at 25??C and 25 MPa normal stress. Steady state negative friction velocity dependence and a steady state fault zone microstructure are achieved after ???18 mm displacement, and an approximately constant strength is reached after a few tens of millimeters of sliding on initially bare surfaces. Simulated fault gouges show a large but systematic variation of friction, velocity dependence of friction, dilatancy, and degree of localization with displacement. At short displacement (<10 mm), simulated gouge is strong, velocity strengthening and changes in sliding velocity are accompanied by relatively large changes in dilatancy rate. With continued displacement, simulated gouges become progressively weaker and less velocity strengthening, the velocity dependence of dilatancy rate decreases, and deformation becomes localized into a narrow basal shear which at its most localized is observed to be velocity weakening. With subsequent displacement, the fault restrengthens, returns to velocity strengthening, or to velocity neutral, the velocity dependence of dilatancy rate becomes larger, and deformation becomes distributed. Correlation of friction, velocity dependence of friction and of dilatancy rate, and degree of localization at all displacements in simulated gouge suggest that all quantities are interrelated. The observations do not distinguish the independent variables but suggest that the degree of localization is controlled by the fault strength, not by the friction velocity dependence. The friction velocity dependence and velocity dependence of dilatancy rate can be used as qualitative measures of the degree of localization in simulated gouge, in agreement with previous studies. Theory equating the friction velocity dependence of simulated gouge to the sum of the friction velocity dependence of bare surfaces and the velocity dependence of dilatancy rate of simulated gouge fails to quantitatively account for the experimental observations.
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Frictional behavior of large displacement experimental faults