Decay of dynamic fracturing based on three-dimensional measurements of clastic-dike geometry

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9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several fundamental issues of fracture mechanics during the post-dynamic stage are yet not fully understood, including fracture arrest mechanisms, effects of the three-dimensional fracture propagation on fracture aperture and height relations, and the role played by fracture tips on fracture termination. We studied these issues in the seismically active Dead Sea basin, where clastic dikes (>10 m) and numerous smaller dikelets (<1 m) dynamically intruded the late-Pleistocene soft rock of the Lisan Formation. A three-dimensional study of the dikelets shows that they form arrest zones at the tips of the larger clastic dikes. Geometrically, the dikelets are divided into two parts: (1) the main dikelet, in which the aperture profile along the dikelet height is approximately elliptic; and (2) the elongated tip, in which the aperture profile along the tip height is approximately constant. The dikelet aspect ratio is defined as A/H, where A is dikelet aperture and H is dikelet height. A plot of A/H versus H describes power relations with two different zones: (1) Zone A, with a small variation of A/H, between 0.02 and 0.06, for dikelets in height range of 100-700 mm; and (2) Zone B, where the aspect ratio sharply increases to 0.23 in dikelets with heights less than ∼100 mm. We interpret that during deceleration, when the height of the elongated tip became greater than 1/10 of the dikelet height, inelastic conditions are dominant. Under these conditions, the fracture velocity decreases significantly and the dikelet aspect ratio increases. The present observations and analyses indicate that formation of elongated tips and dike (fracture) segmentation are essential for the decay of the dynamic fracturing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-841
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2009

Keywords

  • Clastic dike
  • Dynamic fracturing
  • Fracture
  • Fracture tip
  • Scaling law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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