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Title: Simulating stick-slip failure in a sheared granular layer using a physics-based constitutive model

Abstract

In this paper, we model laboratory earthquakes in a biaxial shear apparatus using the Shear-Transformation-Zone (STZ) theory of dense granular flow. The theory is based on the observation that slip events in a granular layer are attributed to grain rearrangement at soft spots called STZs, which can be characterized according to principles of statistical physics. We model lab data on granular shear using STZ theory and document direct connections between the STZ approach and rate-and-state friction. We discuss the stability transition from stable shear to stick-slip failure and show that stick slip is predicted by STZ when the applied shear load exceeds a threshold value that is modulated by elastic stiffness and frictional rheology. Finally, we also show that STZ theory mimics fault zone dilation during the stick phase, consistent with lab observations.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Memphis, TN (United States). Center for Earthquake Research and Information
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States). Dept. of Physics
  4. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept. of Geosciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); LANL Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1412883
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-26676
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313; TRN: US1800391
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; rate-and-state; friction; stick slip; gouge; constitutive law; failure

Citation Formats

Lieou, Charles K. C., Daub, Eric G., Guyer, Robert A., Ecke, Robert E., Marone, Chris, and Johnson, Paul A.. Simulating stick-slip failure in a sheared granular layer using a physics-based constitutive model. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2016JB013627.
Lieou, Charles K. C., Daub, Eric G., Guyer, Robert A., Ecke, Robert E., Marone, Chris, & Johnson, Paul A.. Simulating stick-slip failure in a sheared granular layer using a physics-based constitutive model. United States. doi:10.1002/2016JB013627.
Lieou, Charles K. C., Daub, Eric G., Guyer, Robert A., Ecke, Robert E., Marone, Chris, and Johnson, Paul A.. Sat . "Simulating stick-slip failure in a sheared granular layer using a physics-based constitutive model". United States. doi:10.1002/2016JB013627. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1412883.
@article{osti_1412883,
title = {Simulating stick-slip failure in a sheared granular layer using a physics-based constitutive model},
author = {Lieou, Charles K. C. and Daub, Eric G. and Guyer, Robert A. and Ecke, Robert E. and Marone, Chris and Johnson, Paul A.},
abstractNote = {In this paper, we model laboratory earthquakes in a biaxial shear apparatus using the Shear-Transformation-Zone (STZ) theory of dense granular flow. The theory is based on the observation that slip events in a granular layer are attributed to grain rearrangement at soft spots called STZs, which can be characterized according to principles of statistical physics. We model lab data on granular shear using STZ theory and document direct connections between the STZ approach and rate-and-state friction. We discuss the stability transition from stable shear to stick-slip failure and show that stick slip is predicted by STZ when the applied shear load exceeds a threshold value that is modulated by elastic stiffness and frictional rheology. Finally, we also show that STZ theory mimics fault zone dilation during the stick phase, consistent with lab observations.},
doi = {10.1002/2016JB013627},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth},
number = 1,
volume = 122,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Jan 14 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sat Jan 14 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Cited by: 4works
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  • The presence of fault gouge has considerable influence on slip properties of tectonic faults and the physics of earthquake rupture. The presence of fluids within faults also plays a significant role in faulting and earthquake processes. In this study, we present 3-D discrete element simulations of dry and fluid-saturated granular fault gouge and analyze the effect of fluids on stick-slip behavior. Fluid flow is modeled using computational fluid dynamics based on the Navier-Stokes equations for an incompressible fluid and modified to take into account the presence of particles. Analysis of a long time train of slip events shows that themore » (1) drop in shear stress, (2) compaction of granular layer, and (3) the kinetic energy release during slip all increase in magnitude in the presence of an incompressible fluid, compared to dry conditions. We also observe that on average, the recurrence interval between slip events is longer for fluid-saturated granular fault gouge compared to the dry case. This observation is consistent with the occurrence of larger events in the presence of fluid. It is found that the increase in kinetic energy during slip events for saturated conditions can be attributed to the increased fluid flow during slip. Finally, our observations emphasize the important role that fluid flow and fluid-particle interactions play in tectonic fault zones and show in particular how discrete element method (DEM) models can help understand the hydromechanical processes that dictate fault slip.« less
  • We present an analysis of results obtained from a mechanical apparatus consisting of an annular plate shearing over a granular bed. The size, energy dissipation, and duration of slips in the system exhibit power-law distributions and a 1/f{sup 2} power spectrum, in accordance with self-organized criticality. We draw similarities with earthquakes.
  • Cited by 11
  • We use three-dimensional discrete element calculations to study stick-slip dynamics in a weakly wet granular layer designed to simulate fault gouge. The granular gouge is constituted by 8000 spherical particles with a poly-disperse size distribution. At very low liquid content, liquids impose cohesive and viscous forces on particles. Our simulations show that by increasing the liquid content, friction increases and granular layer shows higher recurrence time between slip events. We also observe that slip events exhibit larger friction drop and layer compaction in wet system compared to dry. We demonstrate that a small volume of liquid induces cohesive forces betweenmore » wet particles that are responsible for an increase in coordination number leading to a more stable arrangement of particles. This stabilization is evidenced with two orders of magnitude lower particle kinetic energy in wet system during stick phase. Similar to previous experimental studies, we observe enhanced frictional strength for wet granular layers. In experiments, the physicochemical processes are believed to be the main reason for such behavior, we show however, that at low confining stresses the hydromechanical effects of induced cohesion are sufficient for observed behavior. Our simulations illuminate the role of particle interactions and demonstrate the conditions under which induced cohesion plays a significant role in fault zone processes, including slip initiation, weakening, and failure.« less
  • Stick-slip regime of shear granular flows is studied theoretically and numerically. Numerical experiments are carried out for a thin Couette cell using soft-particle molecular dynamics code in two dimensions. We apply order parameter theory of partially fluidized granular flows and find a good agreement with simulations and experiments by Nasuno et al.