pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 116, Issue 4, pp 615–626

Friction of rocks

  • J. Byerlee

DOI: 10.1007/BF00876528

Cite this article as:
Byerlee, J. PAGEOPH (1978) 116: 615. doi:10.1007/BF00876528


Experimental results in the published literature show that at low normal stress the shear stress required to slide one rock over another varies widely between experiments. This is because at low stress rock friction is strongly dependent on surface roughness. At high normal stress that effect is diminished and the friction is nearly independent of rock type. If the sliding surfaces are separated by gouge composed of Montmorillonite or vermiculite the friction can be very low.

Key words

Rock mechanicsFrictionFaulting surfaces

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Byerlee
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA