Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere

Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere

Terry Engelder
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 492
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    Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere
    Book Description:

    The purpose of this book is to acquaint the geoscientist with issues associated with the debate over orientation and magnitude of stress in the lithosphere. Terry Engelder provides a broad understanding of the topic, while touching some of the specific details involved in the interpretation of stress data generated by the most commonly used measurement techniques. An understanding of stress in the lithosphere starts with an introduction to nomenclature based on three reference states of stress. Since rock strength governs differential stress magnitudes, stress regimes are identified according to the specific failure mechanism (crack propagation, shear rupture, ductile flow, or frictional slip) that controls the magnitude of stress at a particular time and place in the lithosphere. After introducing the various stress regimes, the author shows how their extent in the upper crust is demarcated by direct measurements of four types: hydraulic fracture, borehole-logging, strain-relaxation, and rigid-inclusion measurements. The relationship between lithospheric stress and the properties of rocks is then presented in terms of microcrack-related phenomena and residual stress. Lithospheric stress is also inferred from the analysis of earthquakes. Finally, lithospheric stress is placed in the context of large-scale stress fields and plate tectonics.

    Originally published in 1992.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6315-0
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Terry Engelder
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. List of Symbols
    (pp. xix-xxvi)
  6. 1 Basic Concepts
    (pp. 1-23)

    The dynamic nature of our earth is apparent in the deformation of its lithosphere as manifest by mountain belts, continental rifts, rapidly subsiding basins, high plateaus, and deep oceanic trenches. Evidence from magnetic anomalies, earthquake distribution, and continental shape suggests that large-scale deformation is a consequence of plate tectonics. On a more esoteric level, a geoscientist might explain that large-scale deformation occurs in response to stress within the lithosphere. But, what is meant by the expression, stress within the lithosphere? Although the word, stress, commonly appears in the geoscience literature, doubt about its meaning arises because its definition, simply stated...

  7. 2 Stress in the Crack-Propagation Regime
    (pp. 24-58)

    Anderson (1951) recognized that dikes, a manifestation of crack propagation in the schizosphere, have a consistent orientation relative to the earth’s stress field (intrusion is perpendicular to Sh) and that they intrude instantaneously relative to the geological time scale. Through careful observation Anderson reached the profound conclusion that the orientation of the earth’s stress field is quite uniform on a regional scale. At the same time Anderson showed that tracing the path of crack (dike) propagation is a powerful tool for mapping the orientation of the earth’s stress fields, both present and past. Anderson’s work spawned a number of developments...

  8. 3 Stress in the Shear-Rupture and Frictional-Slip Regimes
    (pp. 59-95)

    A shear fracture that started as a primary shear rupture is difficult to recognize in outcrop. One of the best field criterion for the primary shear rupture of rock is a band of cataclastic material called a braided shear fracture (Engelder, 1974) or a deformation band (Aydin and Johnson, 1978). Confusion over identification of primary shear fractures arises because joints are often reactivated in shear¹ and, thus, give the impression of starting as a primary shear rupture. For example, Martel et al. (1988) show that some strike-slip fault zones in granite develop through three stages, the first of which involves...

  9. 4 Stress in the Ductile-Flow Regime
    (pp. 96-130)

    Constraints on lithospheric stress are based on ductile as well as brittle rock strength. Temperature and confining pressure have fundamentally different effects on brittle and ductile rock strength. Ductile strength is almost unaffected by confining pressure, whereas the brittle strength of rock increases markedly at higher confining pressure (Heard, 1960). In contrast, temperature has a large effect on ductile processes such as dislocation motion and diffusion-assisted deformation, whereas brittle strength shows little dependence on temperature (Heard, 1963). In laboratory experiments, rocks are markedly weaker during ductile deformation at high temperature which means that σdis much lower in the warmer...

  10. 5 Hydraulic Fracture
    (pp. 131-170)

    The evolution of hydraulic fracture stress measurements starts shortly after 1859 when Edwin L. Drake bored a 23 m hole into an oil reservoir near Titusville, Pennsylvania, and thereby completed Pennsylvania’s first oil well. One of the first problems encountered in Pennsylvania oil fields was that wells clogged with paraffin shortly after production started. Henry Dennis discovered that he could relieve paraffin clogging by setting off explosive shots in oil wells (Herrick, 1949). Dennis used a rifle powder mixture of niter, charcoal, and sulphur in a technique which was later called torpedoing. By 1865, Alfred Nobel’s blasting oil, nitroglycerin, was...

  11. 6 Borehole and Core Logging
    (pp. 171-191)

    Stress concentrations around and at the end of boreholes are large enough to favor drilling-induced cracking or fracturing in both the borehole wall and drill core. Several examples of drilling-induced brittle behavior include the development of core discs, the propagation of petal-centerline fractures through cores, and the failure of borehole walls with the subsequent breakout of wall material. Core discing and petal-centerline fractures are analyzed in core recovered from the well, whereas borehole-wall failure is analyzed using well-logging instruments. In all cases, earth stress controls the orientation and morphology of drilling-induced brittle behavior. In situ stress magnitude and orientation also...

  12. 7 Strain-Relaxation Measurements
    (pp. 192-227)

    More than four millennia ago, tunnelers and miners were already learning to deal with the effects of earth stress. The Egyptians used rock stress to aid in the tunneling and quarrying by taking advantage of the effect of mechanically, thermally, and chemically induced stresses. For example, blocks for the pyramids were cut by driving wedges into holes. Early Egyptian kings had some galleries cut over 240 m in length into the relatively soft sandstones of the Upper Nile River. At this time the practices of tunneling and mining were extensive as indicated by ancient excavations such as the Polish salt...

  13. 8 Stressmeters and Crack Flexure
    (pp. 228-244)

    Devices inserted into pilotholes and slots follow one of two basic schemes for measuring in situ stress. The first scheme involves devices which detect the shape change of a small volume of rock as earth stress is removed by coring or cutting. Stress is not measured directly from these shape changes but rather it is later calculated using information on the elastic properties of the rock (see chap. 7). The second scheme is to insert a device which prevents change in shape of the rock on coring or which restores the rock to its original shape. The advantage of these...

  14. 9 Microcrack-Related Phenomena
    (pp. 245-280)

    When discussing granite-quarrying techniques, quarry supervisors Harry Mason (1979, personal communication) and Ivan Thunburg (1980, personal communication) use descriptive terms that indicate an implicit respect for the influence of earth stress on their operation. Both men agree that all granite, except wild rock, has anature, which is the direction of preferred crack propagation in a vertical plane.¹ Based on knowledge of crack propagation there is little doubt that the nature of a granite is the direction of SHwithin a granite quarry. Other terms also indicating respect for in situ stress include wild rock and pressure.Wild rockis,...

  15. 10 Residual and Remnant Stresses
    (pp. 281-313)

    Components of the earth’s stress field may arise from small-scale residual stresses as well as large-scale boundary tractions (e.g., frictional resistance at strike-slip boundaries of lithospheric plates) and body forces (e.g., sinking of a dense lithosphere in a subduction zone). Of these components the significance of residual stress is by far the most difficult to assess.Residual stressis manifest by elastic strain within elements of an isolated body after all boundary tractions are removed. The elastic distortion of any element in the body is held in place by surrounding elements which may also be elastically distorted. All of the...

  16. 11 Earthquakes
    (pp. 314-336)

    During the time when Anderson (1905; 1942) formulated his mechanical concepts for the origin of faulting, earthquake seismologists realized earthquake waves contained information on the orientation of the faults hosting earthquakes. To infer the orientation of an earthquake fault seismologists developed thefault-plane solutionwhich is a mapping of the radiation pattern of a particular wave type (i.e., P or S waves) on a sphere about thehypocenterof an earthquake (i.e.. the position of the initial rupture of an earthquake). A faultplane solution is often presented as a stereographic projection showing the orientation of earthquake nodal planes (i.e., the...

  17. 12 Data Compilations
    (pp. 337-366)

    Compilations of stress data vary in detail depending on the scale and purpose of the compilation. On the largest scale, a global compilation, data may come from several types of stress measurements and an individual datum may, itself, be some average of many stress measurements. Compilations of data from individual wells usually consist of one type of stress measurement. Continentwide and regional compilations may include large quantities of orientation data, whereas compilations from individual wells may focus more specifically on the nature of the variation of stress magnitude with depth in the lithosphere. Global compilations of stress data are helpful...

  18. 13 Sources of Stress in the Lithosphere
    (pp. 367-392)

    The theory of plate tectonics states that major lithospheric plates, about a dozen in number, consist of both crust and upper mantle moving over an asthenosphere composed of ultramafic rocks.Plate boundariesare of four types including transform faults where plates slide past one another, midocean ridges where new material is added to plates, subduction zones where older portions of plates are destroyed, and basal surfaces which accommodate the viscous shear between the lithosphere and the asthenosphere. Ever since A. L. Wegener and F. B. Taylor published their ideas on continental drift (i.e., plate tectonics), earth scientists have wondered about...

  19. Epilogue
    (pp. 393-394)

    During the past twenty years, data from direct measurement of stress in the lithosphere accumulated at an unprecedented rate. The interpretation of large quantities of in situ stress data allowed the general understanding of earth stress as expressed in this monograph. Rapid progress in the accumulation of in situ data depended on the congruence of three elements: (1) the confirmation of continental drift and with it, a global context for data on stress in the lithosphere; (2) the seminal work of many scientists having seemingly unrelated specialities including miners and tunnelers, field geologists, quarry operators, petroleum engineers, seismologists, laboratory experimentalists,...

  20. Notes
    (pp. 395-400)
  21. References
    (pp. 401-450)
  22. Index
    (pp. 451-457)