RESEARCH

Geotribology - Friction, wear and lubrication of faults

Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces - the study of friction, wear, and lubrication. Geotribology of faults is the phenomena related to slip along faults, whether in an unstable (earthquake) or stable (slow creep) fashion.

Wear along faults, i.e., gouge, is ubiquitously observed in the field.  However, the evolution of fault gouge production, i.e. wear-rate, and its evolution with respect to the slip properties and fault's strength is not well-known.

I used ‘wear-maps’ diagram, a tool to characterize wear  intensities under different mechanical conditions, to show a slip-mechanism transition from a dominant brittle to ductile mechanisms. This transition was also correlated with the appearance of shiny-smooth slip surfaces, characteristic of carbonate faults in the field.

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