Mechanics for a New Mellennium

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New Perspectives on Crack and Fault Dynamics

  • James R. RiceAffiliated withDivision of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

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Recent observations on the dynamics of crack and fault rupture are described, together with related theory and simulations in the frame-work of continuum elastodynamics. Topics include configurational instabilities of tensile crack fronts (crack front waves, disordering, side-branching), the connection between frictional slip laws and modes of rupture propagation in earth faulting, especially conditions for formation of self-healing slip pulses, and the rich faulting and cracking phenomena that result along dissimilar material interfaces due to coupling between slippage and normal stress alteration.