Rock Mechanics

The department has an active program in rock mechanics focused primarily on understanding the nucleation and propagation of earthquake ruptures. Problems include understanding the mechanical processes that generate fault-gouge, fault-breccia, and off-fault fracture damage during a large earthquake and how these fault zone materials generated by previous earthquakes affect the propagation of future events. Specific areas of interest include the effective frictional response of a granular layer, the evolution of the size distribution of fragments within a fault zone, and the mechanics of fracture-damaged rock. Such studies also include the important effects of ground water and temperature. This work is closely linked to field studies of the structure of exhumed fault zones.

  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: earthsci@usc.edu