Fault gouges play an important role in the shear deformation of fault zones, by causing weakness and frictional instability in structures. Previous studies have investigated the evolution of shear deformation of fault zones by observing experiments using remolded and synthetic gouge specimens at a micro-scale. However, how the spatial configuration of the rock constituents accounts for the 3D anisotropy of intact structures of fault gouges, particularly at the core-scale, is not well understood. We obtained 3D µ-CT images of directionally cored gouge specimens and performed statistical analysis to quantify the major orientation of the internal structures. Direct shear tests were conducted to investigate the relationship between the distribution of the internal structures and geomechanical behavior. The results show that the undisturbed fault gouge has a clear anisotropy parallel to the fault plane even at the core-scale. Moreover, the direct shear test results show that the frictional resistance of a fault gouge has anisotropy related to the fault plane. The simple, yet robust method proposed in this study confirms that the core-scale structural anisotropy is correlated to the anisotropic shear resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering