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Publication Detail
Assessing the Efficiency of Thermal Pressurization Using Natural Pseudotachylyte-Bearing Rocks
©2018. The Authors. The efficiency of thermal pressurization as a dynamic weakening mechanism relies on the thermal and hydraulic properties of the rocks forming the fault core. Here we assess the effectiveness of thermal pressurization by comparing predictions of temperature rise to field estimates based on pseudotachylyte-bearing rocks. We measure hydraulic and transport properties of a suite of fault rocks (a healed cataclasite, an unhealed breccia, and the intact parent rock) from the pseudotachylyte-bearing Gole Larghe fault in the Adamello batholith (Italy) and use them as inputs in numerical simulations of thermal pressurization. We find that the melting temperature can be reached only if damaged, unhealed rock properties are used. A tenfold increase in permeability or a fourfold increase in pore compressibility of the intact rock is required to achieve melting. Our results emphasize the importance of damage processes that strongly modify fault rock properties and dynamic weakening processes during earthquake propagation.
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