Publication Date

April 2016


Phillip Resor


Earth and Environmental Sciences


English (United States)


Pseudotachylyte, a fault rock formed through coseismic frictional melting, provides an important record of coseismic mechanics. In particular, injection veins formed at a high angle to the fault surface have been used to estimate rupture directivity, velocity, pulse length, stress and strength drop, as well as slip weakening distance and wall rock stiffness. These studies, however, have generally treated injection vein formation as a purely elastic process and have assumed that processes of melt generation, transport, and solidification have little influence on the final vein geometry. Using a modified analytical approximation of injection vein formation based on a dike intrusion model we find that the timescales of quenching and flow propagation are similar for a suite injection veins in the Fort Foster Brittle Zone, indicating a complex, dynamic process whose behavior is not fully captured by the current approach. To assess the applicability of the simplifying assumptions of the dike model when applied to injection veins we employ a finite-element time-dependent model of injection vein formation. This model couples elastic deformation of the wall rock with the fluid dynamics and heat transfer of the frictional melt. The final geometry of a majority of injection veins is unaffected by the inclusion of these processes. However, some injection veins are flow limited, with a final geometry reflecting cooling of the vein before it reaches an elastic equilibrium with the wall rock. In these cases, numerical results are significantly different from the dike model, and two basic assumptions of the dike model, self-similar growth and a uniform pressure gradient, are shown to be false. Additionally, we provide two new constrains on the Fort Foster coseismic environment: a lower limit on the initial melt temperature of 1400 *C, and either significant coseismic wall rock softening or high transient tensile stress.



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