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Universal Quake Statistics: From Compressed Nanocrystals to Earthquakes

Uhl, Jonathan T. and Pathak, Shivesh and Schorlemmer, Danijel and Liu, Xin and Swindeman, Ryan and Brinkman, Braden A. W. and LeBlanc, Michael and Tsekenis, Georgios and Friedman, Nir and Behringer, Robert and Denisov, Dmitry and Schall, Peter and Gu, Xiaojun and Wright, Wendelin J. and Hufnagel, Todd and Jennings, Andrew and Greer, Julia R. and Liaw, P. K. and Becker, Thorsten and Dresen, Georg and Dahmen, Karin A. (2015) Universal Quake Statistics: From Compressed Nanocrystals to Earthquakes. Scientific Reports, 5 . Art. No. 16493. ISSN 2045-2322. PMCID PMC4647222.

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Slowly-compressed single crystals, bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), rocks, granular materials, and the earth all deform via intermittent slips or “quakes”. We find that although these systems span 12 decades in length scale, they all show the same scaling behavior for their slip size distributions and other statistical properties. Remarkably, the size distributions follow the same power law multiplied with the same exponential cutoff. The cutoff grows with applied force for materials spanning length scales from nanometers to kilometers. The tuneability of the cutoff with stress reflects “tuned critical” behavior, rather than self-organized criticality (SOC), which would imply stress-independence. A simple mean field model for avalanches of slipping weak spots explains the agreement across scales. It predicts the observed slip-size distributions and the observed stress-dependent cutoff function. The results enable extrapolations from one scale to another, and from one force to another, across different materials and structures, from nanocrystals to earthquakes.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Liu, Xin0000-0003-0049-5210
Friedman, Nir0000-0002-9678-3550
Greer, Julia R.0000-0002-9675-1508
Additional Information:© 2015 Nature Publishing Group. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 18 June 2015; Accepted: 14 October 2015; Published: 17 November 2015. We thank Matthew Brinkman for creating Fig. 1. We thank Thomas Goebel for the data on rocks. We thank James Antonaglia, James Beadsworth, Yehuda Ben-Zion, Corey Fyock, Jordan Sickle, and Li Shu for helpful conversations. We acknowledge support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) DMR 10-05209, DMS 10-69224 (KD), CAREER-award DMR-0748267, ONR Grant-No. N00014-09-1-0883 (JRG), DMR-1042734 (WW), DMR-1107838 (TCH), DMR-0231320, DMR-0909037, CMMI-0900271, CMMI-1100080 (PKL), SCEC, MGA, NSF PHY11-25915, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara, and the Aspen Center for Physics. KD and PKL acknowledge support from the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), DE-FE-0011194. PKL acknowledges support from the DOE/NETL (DE-FE-0008855) and the support of the U.S. Army Research Office project (W911NF-13-1-0438). Author Contributions: J.U. and KD devised and led the study. S.P., X.L. and R.S. contributed a large part of the data analysis together with M.L., B.B., G.T. and N.F. D.S. contributed the earthquake data and its analysis. Thomas Goebel, D.S., T.B. and G.D. contributed the data on rocks. W.W., X.G., and T.H. contributed the data on bulk metallic glasses. R.B., D.D. and P.S., contributed the data on granular materials. A.J. and J.R.G. contributed the data on nanocrystals. All authors contributed expertise and ideas to the project. J.U., S.P. and K.D. wrote the manuscript with input from P.L. and all other coauthors. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFDMR 10-05209
NSFDMS 10-69224
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-09-1-0883
Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)UNSPECIFIED
University of California Santa BarbaraUNSPECIFIED
Aspen Center for PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FE-0011194
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FE-0008855
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-13-1-0438
PubMed Central ID:PMC4647222
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151201-141224356
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Uhl, J. T. et al. Universal Quake Statistics: From Compressed Nanocrystals to Earthquakes. Sci. Rep. 5, 16493; doi: 10.1038/srep16493 (2015).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62511
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Dec 2015 22:38
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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