Assessing Energy Budget of Laboratory Fault Slip Using Rotary Shear Experiments and Micro-Computed Tomography

Qi Zhao, Steven D. Glaser, Nicola Tisato, Giovanni Grasselli

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Quantitative assessment of the energy budget of earthquake events is one of the key aspects for understanding the physics of earthquakes. Investigation of laboratory fault slips under controlled conditions can provide insights on this important aspect of the natural and induced earthquakes. We conducted a rotary shear experiment under X-ray micro-computed tomography, which allowed in situ and operando measurement of macroscopic stresses and imaging of the newly formed fractures inside the sample. We estimate each component of the energy budget and found that friction energy loss (EF), fracture energy (EG), and radiated energy (ER) account for 70.16%, 15.68%, and 14.15% of the total energy budget, respectively. Quantitative analysis of the micro-computed tomography images indicates that the energy consumed by creating slip-induced off-fault fractures (Ef G) accounts for only 0.3% of the total energy, less than 2% of the total EG.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019GL084787
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • energy budget
  • fracture energy
  • laboratory earthquake
  • machine learning
  • micro-CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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