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Publication 23-CNA-019

Emergent fault friction and supershear in a continuum model of geophysical rupture

Abhishek Arora
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN 37235

Amit Acharya
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Center for Nonlinear Analysis
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Abstract: Important physical observations in rupture dynamics such as static fault friction, short-slip, self-healing, and supershear phenomenon in cracks are studied. A continuum model of rupture dynamics is developed using the field dislocation mechanics (FDM) theory. The energy density function in our model encodes accepted and simple physical facts related to rocks and granular materials under compression. We work within a 2-dimensional ansatz of FDM where the rupture front is allowed to move only in a horizontal fault layer sandwiched between elastic blocks. Damage via the degradation of elastic modulus is allowed to occur only in the fault layer, characterized by the amount of plastic slip. The theory dictates the evolution equation of the plastic shear strain to be a Hamilton-Jacobi (H-J) equation, resulting in the representation of a propagating rupture front. A Central-Upwind scheme is used to solve the H-J equation. The rupture propagation is fully coupled to elastodynamics in the whole domain, and our simulations recover static friction laws as emergent features of our continuum model, without putting in by hand any such discontinuous criteria in our model. Estimates of material parameters of cohesion and friction angle are deduced. Short-slip and slip-weakening (crack-like) behaviors are also reproduced as a function of the degree of damage behind the rupture front. The long-time behavior of a moving rupture front is probed, and it is deduced that the equilibrium profiles under no shear stress are not traveling wave profiles under non-zero shear load in our model. However, it is shown that a traveling wave structure is likely attained in the limit of long times. Finally, a crack-like damage front is driven by an initial impact loading, and it is observed in our numerical simulations that an upper bound to the crack speed is the dilatational wave speed of the material unless the material is put under pre-stressed conditions, in which case supersonic motion can be obtained. Without pre-stress, intersonic (supershear) motion is recovered under appropriate conditions.

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