A Caltech Library Service

Understanding dynamic friction through spontaneously evolving laboratory earthquakes

Rubino, V. and Rosakis, A. J. and Lapusta, N. (2017) Understanding dynamic friction through spontaneously evolving laboratory earthquakes. Nature Communications, 8 . Art. No. 15991. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC5493769; PMC6365550. doi:10.1038/ncomms15991.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF (Publisher Correction) - Erratum
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] Video (MPEG) (Supplementary Movie 1) - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Friction plays a key role in how ruptures unzip faults in the Earth’s crust and release waves that cause destructive shaking. Yet dynamic friction evolution is one of the biggest uncertainties in earthquake science. Here we report on novel measurements of evolving local friction during spontaneously developing mini-earthquakes in the laboratory, enabled by our ultrahigh speed full-field imaging technique. The technique captures the evolution of displacements, velocities and stresses of dynamic ruptures, whose rupture speed range from sub-Rayleigh to supershear. The observed friction has complex evolution, featuring initial velocity strengthening followed by substantial velocity weakening. Our measurements are consistent with rate-and-state friction formulations supplemented with flash heating but not with widely used slip-weakening friction laws. This study develops a new approach for measuring local evolution of dynamic friction and has important implications for understanding earthquake hazard since laws governing frictional resistance of faults are vital ingredients in physically-based predictive models of the earthquake source.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle Correction CentralPublisher Correction
Rubino, V.0000-0002-4023-8668
Rosakis, A. J.0000-0003-0559-0794
Lapusta, N.0000-0001-6558-0323
Additional Information:© 2017 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 09 July 2016; Accepted: 18 May 2017; Published online: 29 June 2017. This study was supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant EAR 1321655 and EAR-1651235), and the US Geological Survey (USGS) (grant G16AP00106), and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), contribution No. 6276. SCEC is funded by NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1033462 and USGS Cooperative Agreement G12AC20038. We gratefully acknowledge Dr Hubert Schreier for developing VIC-2D software to treat interfaces with discontinuities. We also gratefully acknowledge Brian Kilgore and Nick Beeler for conducting low-velocity friction measurements for our samples reported in Lu (2009) and shown in Fig. 8a. Author Contributions: All authors contributed to developing the main ideas, interpreting the results, and producing the manuscript. V.R. performed the measurements. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Errata:The HTML version of this Article incorrectly omits Supplementary Movie 1. Supplementary Movie 1 can be found as Supplementary Information associated with this Correction.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)UNSPECIFIED
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Southern California Earthquake Center6276
PubMed Central ID:PMC5493769; PMC6365550
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170629-084215836
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Rubino, V. et al. Understanding dynamic friction through spontaneously evolving laboratory earthquakes. Nat. Commun. 8, 15991. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15991 (2017)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78687
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Jun 2017 17:59
Last Modified:24 Mar 2022 23:16

Repository Staff Only: item control page