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Brittle-ductile transition and associated seismicity: Experimental and numerical studies and relationship with the b-value

Abstract : The acoustic emission (AE) and the mechanical behavior of granite samples during triaxial compression tests have been analyzed. The size of AE events displays power law distributions, conforming to the Gutenberg-Richter law observed for earthquakes, which is characterized by the b value. As the confining pressure increases, the macroscopic behavior becomes more ductile. For all different stages of the rock mechanical behavior (linear, nonlinear prepeak, nonlinear postpeak, shearing), there is a systematic decrease of the b value with increasing confining pressure. A numerical model based on progressive elastic damage and the finite element method allows simulations of the main experimental observations on AE and of a wide range of macroscopic behaviors from brittleness to ductility. The model reproduces a decrease in the b value that appears to be related to the type of macroscopic behavior (brittle-ductile) rather than to the confining pressure. Both experimental and numerical results suggest a relationship between the b value and the brittle-ductile transition. Moreover, these results are consistent with recent earthquake observations and give new insight into the behavior of the Earth's crust.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 12:01:41 PM
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David Amitrano. Brittle-ductile transition and associated seismicity: Experimental and numerical studies and relationship with the b-value. Journal of Geophysical Research : Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union, 2003, 108 (B1), pp.2044. ⟨10.1029/2001JB000680⟩. ⟨hal-00173129⟩

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