pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 143, Issue 1–3, pp 387–423 | Cite as

Development of shear localization in simulated quartz gouge: Effect of cumulative slip and gouge particle size

  • Yaojun Gu
  • Teng-fong Wong
Rock Friction and Shear Zone Mechanics: Laboratory Studies


Frictional sliding experiments were conducted on two types of simulated quartz gouge (with median particle diameters 5 μm and 25 μm, respectively) at confining pressures ranging from 50 MPa to 190 MPa in a conventional triaxial configuration. To investigate the operative micromechanical processes, deformation texture developed in the gouge layer was studied in samples which had accumulated different amounts of frictional slip and undergone different stability modes of sliding. The spatial patterning of shear localization was characterized by a quantitative measurement of the shear band density and orientation. Shear localization in the ultrafine quartz gouge initiated very early before the onset of frictional sliding. Various modes of shear localization were evident, but within the gouge zoneR1-shears were predominant. The density of shear localization increased with cumulative slip, whereas the angle subtended at the rock-gouge interface decreased. Destabilization of the sliding behavior in the ultrafine quartz gouge corresponded to the extension ofR1-shears and formation of boundaryY-shear segments, whereas stabilization with cumulative slip was related to the coalescence ofY-shear segments to form a throughgoing boundary shear. In the coarse quartz gouge, the sliding behavior was relatively stable, probably because shear localization was inhibited by distributed comminution. Two different models were formulated to analyze the stress field within the gouge zone, with fundamentally different predictions on the orientations of the principal stresses. If the rock-gouge interface is assumed to be bonded without any displacement discontinuity, then the maximum principal stress in the gouge zone is predicted to subtend an angle greater than 45° at the interface. If no assumption on displacement or strain continuity is made and if the gouge has yielded as a Coulomb material, then the maximum principal stress in the gouge zone is predicted to subtend an angle less than 45°. If the apparent friction coefficient increases with overall slip (i.e., slip-hardening), then the Riedel shear angle progressively decreases with increasing shear strain within the gouge layer, possibly attaining a zero value which corresponds to a boundaryY-shear. Our quantitative data on shear localization orientation are in reasonable agreement with this second model, which implies the coefficient of internal friction to be about 0.75 for the ultrafine quartz gouge and 0.8 for the coarse gouge. The wide range of orientations for Riedel shear localization observed in natural faults suggests that the orientations of principal stresses vary as much as in an experimental gouge zone.

Key words

Fault gouge Riedel shear nonlinear dynamics rock friction orientation of stress shear localization stick-slip instability 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaojun Gu
    • 1
  • Teng-fong Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space SciencesState University of New York at Stony BrookU.S.A.

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