The shear strength of fault gouge plays an important role in the dynamic behavior of faults, ranging from small-scale displacements to severe earthquakes. The characteristics and interactions of constituent materials in fault gouge are the main determinants of shear strength. Assessing the shear strength of fault gouge by means of experiments, however, requires time-consuming procedures, including sampling, shear testing, and reliability checking; consequently, simple and indirect methods to assess shear strength in terms of the characteristics of fault gouge fragments have been investigated. This study focuses on the influence of the shape of fault gouge particles on the shear strength of gouge. We introduce a novel technique to obtain shape parameters of particles using Xray computed tomography (CT), and then show the effects of particle shape on the friction angle of the fault gouge. Samples collected from fault zones developed in various parent rock materials were tested in laboratory experiments to characterize their shear strengths. After shear testing, the particles in the fault gouge were collected, scanned by X-ray CT, and then analyzed for shape characterization. We successfully determined the shape parameters (sphericity, elongation, flatness, and slenderness) of the fault gouge fragments, and found that the parameters are well correlated with the friction angle of the gouge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)