The permeability of both clay-rich and non-clay gouges, as well as several pure clays, was studied as a function of confining pressures from 5 to 200 MPa and shear strain to 10. Permeability ranged over 4 orders of magnitude, from around 10-22 to 10-18 m2 (1 darcy = 0.987 X 10-12 m2). Grain size was an important factor in determining permeability, particularly for the clay-rich samples. The permeabilities of the non-clay samples were not significantly different than those of the clays. Strength of the saturated samples under drained (low pore pressure) conditions did not correlate with high or low permeability. However, the low permeabilities of these gouges could be a factor in the measured low shear stresses along fault regions if excess pore pressures were created as a result of shearing or compaction, and this pressure was unable to dissipate through a thick section of the material.-from Authors
Additional publication details
Permeability of fault gouge under confining pressure and shear stress.