A complex systems analysis of stick-slip dynamics of a laboratory fault

D.M. Walker, A. Tordesillas, M. Small, R.P. Behringer, Chi Kong Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


We study the stick-slip behavior of a granular bed of photoelastic disks sheared by a rough slider pulled along the surface. Time series of a proxy for granular friction are examined using complex systems methods to characterize the observed stick-slip dynamics of this laboratory fault. Nonlinear surrogate time series methods show that the stick-slip behavior appears more complex than a periodic dynamics description. Phase space embedding methods show that the dynamics can be locally captured within a four to six dimensional subspace. These slider time series also provide an experimental test for recent complex network methods. Phase space networks, constructed by connecting nearby phase space points, proved useful in capturing the key features of the dynamics. In particular, network communities could be associated to slip events and the ranking of small network subgraphs exhibited a heretofore unreported ordering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)013132-1-013132-10
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics


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