Static friction and dynamic friction between two surfaces are generally proportional to the normal force between the surfaces. Pressure in the Earth is approximately equal to the lithostatic overburden. It follows that the failure strength of a fault and its resistance to sliding should increase with depth below the surface. Or should it?

Stress describes internal forces that act to deform a material. It can be separated into shear stress, which acts to change the shape; and pressure, which acts to change the volume. It can also be separated into environmental stress and locked-in stress. The environmental stress results from...

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