Jump to: Research Projects - Selected Publications - Facilities
Jump to: People - Research Projects - Selected Publications
Low to High Velocity Rotary Shear Apparatus (LHVR)
The LHVRS apparatus can measure the evolution of the frictional properties of both granular and solid rock materials at normal stresses up to 20 MPa and slip rates ranging from 1 mm/year to 1 m/s. By covering this range of velocities, the apparatus allows the laboratory investigation of poorly understood deformation processes occurring along active faults including both creeping movements and seismic slip.
Triaxial Loading Apparatus with Fluid Flow (TFF)
The TFF apparatus allows the quantitative investigation of the fracturing processes of rocks during deformation under upper crustal pressure and temperature conditions (up to 10km depth), and how these processes can affect the evolution of the rock fluid transport properties. It also allows the quantitative estimation of the transport properties of rocks (both intact and granular) under evolving conditions of pore fluid pressure and in the presence of reactive fluids (i.e. carbon dioxide).
The Rock Mechanics Laboratory also contains extensive facilities for Rock Preparation, including a Core Drill, Cylindrical Grinder, and Rock Crushing Tools.
The Rock Mechanics Laboratory plays a key role in a number of the current and recent large Research Projects in the Department of Earth Sciences:
Note: *Starred hyperlinks link to external web pages.
NERC Standard Grant
Ken McCaffrey - Gerald Roberts, (UCL), Richard Phillips, (Leeds) & John McCloskey (Ulster)
When an earthquake ruptures an active fault, stress is transferred onto neighbouring active faults and may cause it to rupture in a subsequent earthquake. However, earthquakes will only trigger subsequent earthquakes if the neighbouring fault(s) are already close to failure due to long-term loading from motions in the crust or between plates. Identification of such faults by laser scanning and knowledge of the fault loading history from cosmogenic dating and Coulomb stress modelling will be developed to inform local populations and civil protection agencies in advance of a future earthquake allowing location-prioritised mitigation efforts
NERC Standard Grant ~£560k
Nicola De Paola - Prof. R.E. Holdsworth - Dr. E. Llewellin.
The main aim of the project is to investigate whether chemical and physical reactions triggered by frictional heating (thermal decomposition of fault rock minerals) in carbonate fault zones can make faults extremely weak and favour the propagation of earthquake ruptures. This is a multidisciplinary research program where mechanical, mineralogical and microstructural data, obtained from both field and laboratory studies, will be integrated.
Ms. Rachael Bullock (PhD Student, NERC funding): “Constraining co-seismic slip from earthquake palaeo-records in shallow unconsolidated sediments”.
Ms. Sian Evans (PhD Student, NERC CASE):“Deformation processes along continental transform faults: the southern Dead Sea Fault System, Israel” NERC CASE award jointly supported by the Geological Survey of Israel.
1) Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009-11): “Frictional slip localisation along weak faults”.
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Harbord, C.W.A., Nielsen, S.B., De Paola, N. & Holdsworth, R.E. 2017. Earthquake nucleation on rough faults. Geology, 45, doi:10.1130/G39181.1
De Paola, N., Hirose, T., Mitchell, T., Di Toro, G., Viti, C., Shimamoto, T., 2011. Fault lubrication and earthquake propagation in thermally unstable rocks. Geology 39, 35-38.
Di Toro, G., Han, R., Hirose, T., De Paola, N., Nielsen, N., Mizoguchi, K., Ferri, F., Cocco, M. & Shimamoto, T. 2011. Fault lubrication during earthquakes. Nature 471(7339), 494-498.
I. Faoro, D. Elsworth C. Marone (2010), Permeability evolution during dynamic stressing of dual permeability media, J. Geophys. Res., In press.
Holdsworth, R.E., van Diggelen, E.W.E., Spiers, C.J., de Bresser, J.H.P., Walker, R.J., Bowen, L. 2011. Fault rocks from the SAFOD core samples: Implications for weakening at shallow depths along the San Andreas Fault, California. Journal of Structural Geology, 33, 132-144.
Smith, S.A.F., Holdsworth, R.E., Collettini, R.E. 2011. Interactions between low-angle normal faults and plutonism in the upper crust: Insights from the Island of Elba, Italy. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 123; p. 329–346
De Paola, N., Chiodini, G., Hirose, T., Cardellini, C., Caliro, S. & Shimamoto, T. 2011. The geochemical signature caused by earthquake propagation in carbonate-hosted faults. Earth and Planetary Science Letters