Tectonic pseudotachylytes might be used to constrain earthquake source parameters, such as dynamic shear stress resistance, average dynamic friction and slip-weakening distance. Estimation of dynamic shear stress resistance and dynamic friction from field studies is based on the assumption that the volume of melt produced during coseismic slip is proportional to the frictional work converted to heat on the fault surface. Conditions conducive to a realistic estimate of dynamic shear resistance are: (i) the presence of large outcrop exposures that allow for estimation of the volume of pseudotachylyte; (ii) the presence of structural markers offset by faults in order to relate the displacement accommodated by the fault with the volume of melt produced; (iii) data that provide an estimate of the initial melt temperature; and (iv) determination of host-rock temperature and pressure conditions that may have existed during seismic faulting. An independent indication that steady-state friction in the presence of melts might be achieved during coseismic slip arises from the dependence of the fractal dimension of the fault profile (intersection of the fault surface with the outcrop surface) with displacement. This relation could also indicate the slip-weakening distance (Hirose, T., Shimamoto, T., 2003. Fractal dimension of molten surfaces as a possible parameter to infer the slip-weakening distance of faults from natural pseudotachylytes. Journal of Structural Geology 25, 1569-1574). The above conditions are all satisfied in the case of the Gole Larghe Fault Zone, which consists of hundreds subparallel strike-slip faults that cut tonalites of the Adamello batholith (Italy). The thickness of pseudotachylyte-bearing faults increases with displacement. From displacement/thickness ratios and energy balance calculations, we determined the dynamic shear resistance for several pseudotachylyte-bearing faults. In the same faults, the fractal dimension of the fault profile increases from 1.0 to 1.16 with displacement. This was also observed in experiments where steady-state friction in the presence of melt was achieved (Hirose, T., Shimamoto, T., 2003. Fractal dimension of molten surfaces as a possible parameter to infer the slip-weakening distance of faults from natural pseudotachylytes. Journal of Structural Geology 25, 1569-1574). However, we will show that the estimate of the dynamic shear stress resistance, average dynamic friction and slip-weakening distance in the studied faults is limited by the uncertainties to attribute the measured displacement to a single seismic rupture. Since many pseudotachylytes in the upper seismogenic crust overprint preexisting cataclasites, it is suggested that future field and experimental work should be addressed to determine microstructural indicators (i.e. evolution of cataclastic fabric with displacement) within cataclasites, which might constrain the contribution of the cataclastic, pre-pseudotachylyte displacement to the total displacement accommodated by the fault. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.

Can pseudotachylytes be used to infer earthquake source parameters? An example of limitations in the study of exhumed faults

DI TORO, GIULIO;PENNACCHIONI, GIORGIO;TEZA, GIORDANO
2005

Abstract

Tectonic pseudotachylytes might be used to constrain earthquake source parameters, such as dynamic shear stress resistance, average dynamic friction and slip-weakening distance. Estimation of dynamic shear stress resistance and dynamic friction from field studies is based on the assumption that the volume of melt produced during coseismic slip is proportional to the frictional work converted to heat on the fault surface. Conditions conducive to a realistic estimate of dynamic shear resistance are: (i) the presence of large outcrop exposures that allow for estimation of the volume of pseudotachylyte; (ii) the presence of structural markers offset by faults in order to relate the displacement accommodated by the fault with the volume of melt produced; (iii) data that provide an estimate of the initial melt temperature; and (iv) determination of host-rock temperature and pressure conditions that may have existed during seismic faulting. An independent indication that steady-state friction in the presence of melts might be achieved during coseismic slip arises from the dependence of the fractal dimension of the fault profile (intersection of the fault surface with the outcrop surface) with displacement. This relation could also indicate the slip-weakening distance (Hirose, T., Shimamoto, T., 2003. Fractal dimension of molten surfaces as a possible parameter to infer the slip-weakening distance of faults from natural pseudotachylytes. Journal of Structural Geology 25, 1569-1574). The above conditions are all satisfied in the case of the Gole Larghe Fault Zone, which consists of hundreds subparallel strike-slip faults that cut tonalites of the Adamello batholith (Italy). The thickness of pseudotachylyte-bearing faults increases with displacement. From displacement/thickness ratios and energy balance calculations, we determined the dynamic shear resistance for several pseudotachylyte-bearing faults. In the same faults, the fractal dimension of the fault profile increases from 1.0 to 1.16 with displacement. This was also observed in experiments where steady-state friction in the presence of melt was achieved (Hirose, T., Shimamoto, T., 2003. Fractal dimension of molten surfaces as a possible parameter to infer the slip-weakening distance of faults from natural pseudotachylytes. Journal of Structural Geology 25, 1569-1574). However, we will show that the estimate of the dynamic shear stress resistance, average dynamic friction and slip-weakening distance in the studied faults is limited by the uncertainties to attribute the measured displacement to a single seismic rupture. Since many pseudotachylytes in the upper seismogenic crust overprint preexisting cataclasites, it is suggested that future field and experimental work should be addressed to determine microstructural indicators (i.e. evolution of cataclastic fabric with displacement) within cataclasites, which might constrain the contribution of the cataclastic, pre-pseudotachylyte displacement to the total displacement accommodated by the fault. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2444036
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