GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 25-9
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


ROWE, Christie D.1, GRIFFITH, W. Ashley2, ROSS, Catherine3, MELOSH, Benjamin4 and YOUNG, Erik1, (1)Earth & Planetary Sciences, McGill University, 3450 University St, Montreal, QC H3A 0E8, Canada, (2)Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas at Arlington, Geoscience Building Room 107, 500 Yates St. Box 19049, Arlington, TX 76019, (3)Earth & Planetary Sciences, McGill University, 3450 University St., room 238, Montreall, QC H3A0E8, Canada, (4)US Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025,

There are two key factors distinguishing earthquake slip from creep that have the potential to be preserved in rocks from ancient fault zones. First, slip velocity is sufficiently high that the frictional heat production on the slip surface outpaces conductive heat dissipation, resulting in a net temperature rise. If the slip is sufficiently localized and the normal stress is high enough, this temperature rise can dissociate hydrous minerals, cause rapid maturation of organic compounds, and melt fault rock. These reactions are recorded in fault rock mineralogy and composition and can be used to estimate coseismic temperatures from 250 C to greater than 1400 C. Second, seismic slip is *dynamic*, that is, that the slipping area expands in size at rates comparable to the shear wave velocity in the rocks (~ 3 km/s), which results in extreme stress gradients in the wall rock at the rupture tip. The stressing rate exceeds the speed at which fractures can propagate through the wall rock, resulting in distinctive patterns of very tightly spaced and branching fractures, and sometimes pulverization. These fractures can be the dominant form of off-fault damage and may cause permeability spikes through the fresh fracture networks. Using both types of fossil earthquake signatures, we can identify ancient seismic rupture planes and use these to map out the geometry of earthquake rupture networks at the outcrop scale (10^-3 - 10^3 meters), which is below the resolution and location uncertainty of earthquake seismology in most active faults. Using examples from the Pofadder and Norumbega Shear Zones, I will show that earthquakes can rupture multiple parallel and non-parallel surfaces simultaneously, and that healing during afterslip can affect damage zones as well as the rupture surface. Outcrop studies may be able to elucidate the consequences for slip distribution and help explain spatial variations in fracture energy and stress drop that are barely resolvable in seismic data.