Faulting in the laboratory

André Niemeijer, Åke Fagereng, Matt Ikari, Stefan Nielsen, Ernst Willingshofer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter describes the behaviour of faults in the laboratory. The chapter is organised from small scale to large scale experiments, introducing the reader to general and less general observations of faulting and friction, and showing how these observations are linked to faulting processes occurring in nature. The first section introduces cm-scale friction experiments on gouge materials including the concept of rate-and-state friction, i.e., how velocity affects friction in the quasi-static regime. The following section is devoted to dynamic friction, i.e., observations of friction at high velocity as well as observations of dynamic rupture. The third section discusses the evolution of discrete faults and fault zones in up to meter-scale physical analogue experiments, their dependence on material properties and their significance for the study of large-scale tectonic structures. Finally, the various microstructural features and their possible link to fault stability obtained in the quasi-static regime will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Faults
Subtitle of host publicationDetecting, Dating, and Modeling
EditorsDavid Tanner, Christian Brandes
Number of pages54
ISBN (Electronic)9780128159866
ISBN (Print)9780128159859
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Boundary shears
  • Dynamic weakening
  • Experiments
  • Friction
  • Frictional heat
  • Localization
  • Rate-and-state friction
  • Riedel shears
  • Scaled physical analogue


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