To characterize stress and deformation style at the base of the seismogenic zone, we investigate how the mechanical properties of fluid-rock systems respond to variations in temperature and strain rate. The role of fluids on the processes responsible for the brittle-ductile transition in quartz-rich rocks has not been explored at experimental conditions where the kinetic competition between microcracking and viscous flow is similar to that expected in the Earth. Our initial analysis of this competition suggests that the effective stress law for sliding friction should not work as efficiently near the brittle-ductile transition as it does at shallow conditions.

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