Repository logo

On-fault earthquake energy density partitioning from shocked garnet in an exhumed seismic mid-crustal fault

Published version

Repository DOI



Change log


The energy released during an earthquake is mostly dissipated in the fault zone and subordinately as radiated seismic waves. The on-fault energy budget is partitioned into frictional heat, generation of new grain surface by microfracturing, and crystal-lattice distortion associated with dislocation defects. The relative contribution of these components is debated and difficult to assess, but this energy partitioning strongly influences earthquake mechanics. We use high-resolution scanning-electron-microscopy techniques, especially to analyze shocked garnet in a fault wall-rock, to provide the first estimate of all three energy components for a seismic fault patch exhumed from midcrustal conditions. Fault single-jerk seismicity is recorded by the presence of pristine quenched frictional melt. The estimated value of energy per unit fault surface is ~ 13 MJ/m2 (megajoules per square meter) for heat, which is predominant with respect to both surface energy (up to 0.29 MJ/m2) and energy associated with crystal lattice distortion (0.02 MJ/m2).



37 Earth Sciences, 40 Engineering, 3705 Geology, 3706 Geophysics, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Journal Title

Science Advances

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


American Association for the Advancement of Science
Research Council of Norway (via University of Oslo) (334965/F20)
MRC (MR/V021788/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Research Infrastructures (RI) (101005611)