To investigate laboratory earthquakes, stick-slip events were induced on a saw-cut Westerly granite sample by triaxial loading at 150 MPa confining pressure. Acoustic emissions (AE) were monitored using an innovative continuous waveform recorder. The first motion of each stick slip was recorded as a large-amplitude AE signal. These events source locate onto the saw-cut fault plane, implying that they represent the nucleation sites of the dynamic failure stick-slip events. The precise location of nucleation varied between events and was probably controlled by heterogeneity of stress or surface conditions on the fault. The initial nucleation diameter of each dynamic instability was inferred to be less than 3 mm. A small number of AE were recorded prior to each macro slip event. For the second and third slip events, premonitory AE source mechanisms mimic the large scale fault plane geometry. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Observations of premonitory acoustic emission and slip nucleation during a stick slip experiment in smooth faulted Westerly granite