Slip along low-angle normal faults is a mechanical paradox requiring activation of strain weakening mechanisms. Microstructures present in the slip zones of incipient low-angle normal faults cutting carbonates in the Southern Apennines of Italy show that slip was promoted by two weakening mechanisms producing a reduction of the friction coefficient: (1) high pore fluid pressures; (2) dynamic weakening related to thermal decomposition indicated by decarbonation microstructures and concomitant localized dynamic calcite recrystallization. Furthermore, as a consequence of thermal decomposition, nanoparticles occur as infilling of injection veins, suggesting that powder lubrication processes are active along the slip surface during seismic slip.

Supplementary materials:

A geological sketch of the study area, detailed field photographs of the studied faults and detailed micrographs are available at

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