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FM: Capturing co-seismic fault deformation and pseudotachylyte formation to unveil earthquake physics

Category: Webinars

Nicola Tisato, University of Texas at Austin

Earthquake mechanics is still far from being completely understood, and recent observations have challenged our models. For example, we do not yet understand what controls the occurrence of slow-slip events vs. destructive seismic events. Therefore, new methods to investigate earthquake mechanics are essential to close such a gap. Here, I will discuss results obtained from an Energy-Controlled-Rotary (ECoR) shear apparatus that can produce spontaneous high-intensity slip events. Pairing ECoR with high-speed imaging allowed for capturing precursors and slow-slip events during interseismic periods and the co-seismic evolution of melt within the fault. ECoR challenges the paradigm of performing rotary shear experiments by imposing velocity and displacement and allows the weakening and strengthening processes to control the slip. The experiments show that melt during the seismic slip undergoes specific phases – promoting or impeding slip – that such phases can be clearly identified in acoustic emission signals akin to seismic waves during earthquakes.

Short Biography
Nicola Tisato is a rock physicist focusing on friction, earthquakes, poroelasticity, low-frequency elastic properties and attenuation, and new laboratory and numerical methods to improve rock physics models. He is an assistant professor at the Department of Geological Sciences of UT Austin, and the principal investigator of the Rock Deformation Laboratory. In 2013, under the supervision of Dr. Burlini and Dr. Burg (ETH Zurich), Nicola received his Ph.D. on the attenuation of seismic waves in saturated rocks. In 2008, Nicola received his M.Sc. from the University of Padova under the supervision of Prof. Di Toro. From 2014 to 2015 Nicola was a post-doc at the University of Toronto (supervisor Prof. Grasselli).

When: Friday 21 April, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm PDT
Where: zoom
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