Friday, July 5, 2013

1111.3246 (Yohai Bar Sinai et al.)

Slow rupture of frictional interfaces    [PDF]

Yohai Bar Sinai, Efim A. Brener, Eran Bouchbinder
The failure of frictional interfaces and the spatiotemporal structures that accompany it are central to a wide range of geophysical, physical and engineering systems. Recent geophysical and laboratory observations indicated that interfacial failure can be mediated by slow slip rupture phenomena which are distinct from ordinary, earthquake-like, fast rupture. These discoveries have influenced the way we think about frictional motion, yet the nature and properties of slow rupture are not completely understood. We show that slow rupture is an intrinsic and robust property of simple non-monotonic rate-and-state friction laws. It is associated with a new velocity scale $c_{min}$, determined by the friction law, below which steady state rupture cannot propagate. We further show that rupture can occur in a continuum of states, spanning a wide range of velocities from $c_{min}$ to elastic wave-speeds, and predict different properties for slow rupture and ordinary fast rupture. Our results are qualitatively consistent with recent high-resolution laboratory experiments and may provide a theoretical framework for understanding slow rupture phenomena along frictional interfaces.
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