Permeability control on transient slip weakening during gypsum dehydration: Implications for earthquakes in subduction zones

Leclère, H, Faulkner, D ORCID: 0000-0002-6750-3775, Wheeler, J ORCID: 0000-0002-7576-4465 and Mariani, E ORCID: 0000-0002-0585-5265
(2016) Permeability control on transient slip weakening during gypsum dehydration: Implications for earthquakes in subduction zones. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 442. pp. 1-12.

[thumbnail of Leclere_et_al_EPSL2016.pdf] Text
Leclere_et_al_EPSL2016.pdf - Unspecified

Download (4MB)


© 2016 The Authors.A conflict has emerged from recent laboratory experiments regarding the question of whether or not dehydration reactions can promote unstable slip in subduction zones leading to earthquakes. Although reactions produce mechanical weakening due to pore-fluid pressure increase, this weakening has been associated with both stable and unstable slip. Here, new results monitoring strength, permeability, pore-fluid pressure, reaction progress and microstructural evolution during dehydration reactions are presented to identify the conditions necessary for mechanical instability. Triaxial experiments are conducted using gypsum and a direct shear sample assembly with constant normal stress that allows the measurement of permeability during sliding. Tests are conducted with temperature ramp from 70 to 150 °C and with different effective confining pressures (50, 100 and 150 MPa) and velocities (0.1 and 0.4 μm s-1). Results show that gypsum dehydration to bassanite induces transient stable-slip weakening that is controlled by pore-fluid pressure and permeability evolution. At the onset of dehydration, the low permeability promoted by pore compaction induces pore-fluid pressure build-up and stable slip weakening. The increase of bassanite content during the reaction shows clear evidence of dehydration related with the development of R1 Riedel shears and P foliation planes where bassanite is preferentially localized along these structures. The continued production of bassanite, which is stronger than gypsum, provides a supporting framework for newly formed pores, thus resulting in permeability increase, pore-fluid pressure drop and fault strength increase. After dehydration reaction, deformation is characterized by unstable slip on the fully dehydrated reaction product, controlled by the transition from velocity-strengthening to velocity-weakening behaviour of bassanite at temperature above ~140 °C and the localization of deformation along narrow Y-shear planes. This study highlights the generic conditions required to trigger instabilities during dehydration reactions. It shows that pore-fluid pressure build-up during dehydration reactions associated with the localization of a velocity-weakening reacting or dehydrated phase along shear planes is necessary for earthquake triggering.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: gypsum dehydration, Riedel shear, permeability, slip weakening, pore-fluid pressure
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 07:50
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 07:37
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.02.015
Related URLs: