Abstract

We conducted deformation experiments in which temperature was increased above the thermal stability of antigorite to directly test the dehydration embrittlement hypothesis and its potential link to intermediate-depth earthquakes. The experiments were designed to maximize the possibility for instability: pore pressure was undrained, pre-dehydration stress was high, and deformation was localized prior to initiation of reaction. However, stick-slip instabilities (or unstable fault behavior) did not develop. Rather, we find that weakening occurs stably at a rate that depends on the ratio of the temperature ramp rate to the strain rate (), resulting in laboratory slow slip or stress relaxation events.

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