The failure process in a brittle granite sample can be stabilized by controlling axial stress to maintain a constant rate of acoustic emission. As a result, the post-failure stress curve can be followed quasi-statically, extending to hours the fault growth process which normally would occur violently in a fraction of a second. Using a procedure originally developed to locate earthquakes, acoustic emission arrival-time data are inverted to obtain three-dimensional locations of microseisms. These locations provide a detailed view of fracture nucleation and growth.
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Lockner, D., Byerlee, J., Kuksenko, V. et al. Quasi-static fault growth and shear fracture energy in granite. Nature 350, 39–42 (1991) doi:10.1038/350039a0
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