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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19088

Title: Physical Models of Shear Zones: on the Relationship between Material Properties and Shear Zone Geometry
Authors: Schrank, Christoph Eckart
Advisor: Cruden, Alexander R.
Department: Geology
Keywords: shear zones
physical modelling
strain localization
rheology
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2010
Abstract: I present physical shear-box experiments investigating the relationship between geometrical properties of shear zones and mechanical properties of deformed rocks. Experimental methodology is also examined critically and new materials for analogue modelling of shear localization are presented. First, I tested experimentally whether meaningful rheological information can be deduced from finite geometrical shear zone data. The results predict characteristic geometrical responses for certain end-member materials. However, it will be difficult to constrain such responses in the field. In the second part physical controls on deformation in the shear box are analysed for Newtonian and power-law fluids and an elastoviscoplastic strain-softening material. Since models always represent simplifications of the natural problem, it is essential to understand fully the physics of a given simulation. I show that displacement boundary conditions, model geometry, and rheology control shear zone geometry. Practical applications of the shear box for modelling natural shear localization and limitations of isothermal physical models with displacement boundary conditions in general are discussed. In the third part, new data on the rheology of highly-filled silicone polymers are introduced. Since dynamic similarity must be satisfied in analogue models to permit scaled, quantitative simulations of deformation processes, the choice of suitable rock analogues is critical for physical experiments. In particular, we address the problem of designing power-law fluids to model rocks deforming by dislocation creep. We found that highly-filled polymers have complex rheologies. Hence, such materials must be used with care in analogue modelling and only for certain experimental stress-strain rate conditions. Finally, I investigated whether fault network geometry and topography of brittle strike-slip faults are influenced by the degree of compaction of the host rock. Analogue shear experiments with loose and dense sand imply that the degree of sediment compaction may be a governing factor in the evolution of fault network structure and topography along strike-slip faults in sedimentary basins. Therefore, models of strike-slip faults should consider potential volume changes of deformed rocks.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19088
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geology - Doctoral theses

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