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Table-top nucleation

Sam Dillavou, Vincent Stin, & Shmuel M. Rubinstein

Published August 15, 2019, SCEC Contribution #9800, 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #164

Where and when does an earthquake start? In simulations, important aspects of the dynamics of earthquake nucleation, including slip patch shape and propagation velocity, are determined by the choice of evolution law for the state parameter, prompting the need for experimental investigation. There have been one dimensional measurements of nucleation on large lab faults or direct measurements on one dimensional systems, however the process of nucleation is inherently two dimensional. The main experimental hurdle is the speed of slip propagation, which today is too fast to visualize in 2D in rock, at least at the length scales available in the laboratory. We experimentally probe the dynamics of nucleation using a tabletop model fault, and reduce the speed of the dynamic ruptures by using soft transparent elastomers and filling the interface with a thin layer of sand. We directly visualize slip dynamics in two dimensions, and observe a variety of nucleation behaviors, including partial ruptures, slip pulses, and local and traveling nucleation.

Key Words
Nucleation Experiment

Dillavou, S., Stin, V., & Rubinstein, S. M. (2019, 08). Table-top nucleation. Poster Presentation at 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Fault and Rupture Mechanics (FARM)