The coefficient of friction of chrysotile gouge at seismogenic depths

International Geology Review
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We report new strength data for the serpentine mineral chrysotile at effective normal stresses, ??sn between 40 and 200 MPa in the temperature range 25??-280??C. Overall, the coefficient of friction, ?? (= shear stress/effective normal stress) of water-saturated chrysotile gouge increases both with increasing temperature and ??sn, but the rates vary and the temperature-related increases begin at ???100??C. As a result, a frictional strength minimum (?? = 0.1) occurs at low ??sn at about 100??C. Maximum strength (?? = 0.55) results from a combination of high normal stress and high temperature. The low-strength region is characterized by velocity strengthening and the high-strength region by velocity-weakening behavior. Thoroughly dried chrysotile has ?? = 0.7 and is velocity-weakening. The frictional properties of chrysolite can be explained in its tendency to adsorb large amounts of water that acts as a lubricant during shear. The water is progressively driven off the fiber surfaces with increasing temperature and pressure, causing chrysotile to approach its dry strength. Depth profiles for a chrysotile-lined fault constructed from these data would pass through a strength minimum at ???3 km depth, where sliding should be stable. Below that depth, strength increases rapidly as does the tendency for unstable (seismic) slip. Such a trend would not have been predicted from the room-temperature data. These results therefore illustrate the potential hazards of extrapolating room-temperature friction data to predict fault zone behavior at depth. This depth profile for chrysotile is consistent with the pattern of slip on the Hayward fault, which creeps aseismically at shallow depths but which may be locked below 5 km depth. ?? 2004 by V. H. Winston and Son, Inc. All rights reserved.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The coefficient of friction of chrysotile gouge at seismogenic depths
Series title International Geology Review
Volume 46
Issue 5
Year Published 2004
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title International Geology Review
First page 385
Last page 398