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Laboratory earthquakes: dynamic shear cracks in heterogeneous frictional interfaces (EarthCracks)
Start date: 01 Mar 2009, End date: 28 Feb 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The main objective of the proposal is to expose an outstanding young experimental physicist to multidisciplinary research on earthquake dynamics. Dr. Julien Scheibert who is already an expert in friction and fracture dynamics will perform original research and receive training at the Norwegian Centre of Excellence, “Physics of Geological Processes” (PGP) at the University of Oslo. By working with geologists and physicists with a proven record of cross disciplinary research Dr. Scheibert will broaden his competences and reach a deeper level of insight into fracture and friction in Nature. The main methods to be applied are novel model experiments in which a highly controlled disorder is introduced at a frictional elastomer-on-glass multicontact interface mimicking a seismic fault and correlated to the dynamics of both the nucleation and propagation phases of a shear crack. The dynamics of the slip field over the whole interface will be monitored optically using high speed camera acquisition and digital image correlation techniques. The acoustic signals emitted during rupture will be registered simultaneously by broadband transducers. The experimental data will be compared with earthquake field data, continuum and discrete modelling and theoretical approaches in collaborations with experts at PGP. This project should strengthen a multi-disciplinary approach to seismology in Europe, by gathering experts in geosciences, statistical physics and mechanical engineering and promote new collaborations between them.
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