The role of microcracking in shear-fracture propagation in granite

Journal of Structural Geology
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Microcracking related to the formation of a laboratory shear fracture in a cylinder of Westerly granite has been investigated using image-analysis computer techniques. Well away from the fracture, the deformed granite has about twice the crack density of undeformed granite. The microcrack density increases dramatically in a process zone that surrounds the fracture tip, and the fracture tip itself has more than an order of magnitude increase in crack density over the undeformed rock. Microcrack densities are consistently higher on the dilational side of the shear than on the compressional side. The preferred orientation and uneven distribution of microcracks in the process zone tends to pull the propagation fracture tip towards the dilational side. As a result, the propagating shear follows the microcrack trend for some distance and then changes direction in order to maintain an overall in-plane propagation path. -from Authors

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The role of microcracking in shear-fracture propagation in granite
Series title Journal of Structural Geology
Volume 17
Issue 1
Year Published 1995
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Structural Geology
First page 95
Last page 114
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