The depth to the brittle-ductile transition in the crust is often defined by the intersection of a shear resistance relation in the brittle upper crust that increases linearly with depth and a power law relation for ductile flow in the lower crust that depends strongly on T. Transient variation of this depth caused by a magmatic intrusion at a depth near the regional transition can be modelled by a heat conduction model for a rectangular parallelepiped superimposed on a linear geothermal gradient. When parameters appropriate for the southeastern US are used, a moderate-sized intrusion is found to decrease the transition depth by as much as 7 km; significant variations last approx 10 m.y. Since the base of the seismogenic zone is identified with the brittle-ductile transition, these results imply that intrusions of late Tertiary age or younger could be important sources of clustered seismicity. -A.W.H.
Additional publication details
Variation of depth to the brittle-ductile transition due to cooling of a midcrustal intrusion.