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Time-dependent recovery of microcrack damage and seismic wave speeds in deformed limestone

Brantut, N; (2015) Time-dependent recovery of microcrack damage and seismic wave speeds in deformed limestone. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth , 120 (12) pp. 8088-8109. 10.1002/2015JB012324. Green open access

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Abstract

Limestone samples were deformed up to 5% inelastic axial strain at an effective confining pressure Peff=50 MPa in the cataclastic flow regime and subsequently maintained under constant static stress conditions (either isostatic of triaxial) for extended periods of time while elastic wave speeds and permeability were continuously monitored. During deformation, both seismic wave speeds and permeability decrease with increasing strain, due to the growth of subvertical microcracks and inelastic porosity reduction. During the static hold period under water-saturated conditions, the seismic wave speeds recovered gradually, typically by around 5% (relative to their initial value) after 2 days, while permeability remained constant. The recovery in wave speed increases with increasing confining pressure but decreases with increasing applied differential stress. The recovery is markedly lower when the samples are saturated with an inert fluid as opposed to water. The evolution in wave speed is interpreted quantitatively in terms of microcrack density, which shows that the post-deformation recovery is associated with a decrease in effective microcrack length, typically of the order to 10% after 2 days. The proposed mechanism for the observed damage recovery is microcrack closure due to a combination of backsliding on wing cracks driven by time-dependent friction and closure due to pressure solution at contacts between propping particles or asperities and microcrack walls. The recovery rates observed in the experiments, and the proposed underlying mechanisms, are compatible with seismological observations of seismic wave speed recovery along faults following earthquakes.

Type: Article
Title: Time-dependent recovery of microcrack damage and seismic wave speeds in deformed limestone
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/2015JB012324
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JB012324
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475044
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