Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A two-stage model of fracture of rocks

January 1, 1996

In this paper we propose a two-stage model of rock fracture. In the first stage, cracks or local regions of failure are uncorrelated occur randomly throughout the rock in response to loading of pre-existing flaws. As damage accumulates in the rock, there is a gradual increase in the probability that large clusters of closely spaced cracks or local failure sites will develop. Based on statistical arguments, a critical density of damage will occur where clusters of flaws become large enough to lead to larger-scale failure of the rock (stage two). While crack interaction and cooperative failure is expected to occur within clusters of closely spaced cracks, the initial development of clusters is predicted based on the random variation in pre-existing Saw populations. Thus the onset of the unstable second stage in the model can be computed from the generation of random, uncorrelated damage. The proposed model incorporates notions of the kinetic (and therefore time-dependent) nature of the strength of solids as well as the discrete hierarchic structure of rocks and the flaw populations that lead to damage accumulation. The advantage offered by this model is that its salient features are valid for fracture processes occurring over a wide range of scales including earthquake processes. A notion of the rank of fracture (fracture size) is introduced, and criteria are presented for both fracture nucleation and the transition of the failure process from one scale to another.

Publication Year 1996
Title A two-stage model of fracture of rocks
Authors V. Kuksenko, N. Tomilin, E. Damaskinskaya, D. Lockner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Pure and Applied Geophysics
Index ID 70018655
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse