During the deformation of rock in laboratory experiments, small cracking events, i.e., microfractures, occur which radiate elastic waves in a manner similar to earthquakes. These radiations were detected during uniaxial and triaxial compression tests and their frequency-magnitude relation studied. They were found to obey the Gutenberg and Richter relation


Where N is the number of events which occurred of magnitude M, and a and b constants. The dependence of the parameter b on rock type, stress, and confining pressure was studied. It was found to depend primarily on stress, in a characteristic way. The frequency-magnitude relation for events which accompanied frictional sliding and deformation of a ductile rock was found to have a much higher b value than that observed in brittle rock. The Gutenberg and Richter formulation of the frequency-magnitude relation was derived from a statistical model of rock and crustal deformation. This analysis demonstrates the basis of similarity between rock deformation experiments in the laboratory and deformation of the crust.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.