Progetti di ricerca Internazionali - GEO10


TITOLO: The physics of Earthquake faulting: learning from laboratory earthquake prediCTiON to Improve forecasts of the spectrum of tectoniC failure modes: TECTONIC    
ENTE FINANZIATORE: ERC-2018-ADG - ERC Advanced Grant: H2020-EU.1.1. - EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC)

INIZIO PROGETTO: 1 Gennaio 2020
DATA FINE PROGETTO: 31 Dicembre 2024
Earthquakes represent one of our greatest natural hazards. Even a modest improvement in the ability to forecast devastating events like the 2016 sequence that destroyed the villages of Amatrice and Norcia, Italy would save thousands of lives and billions of euros. Current efforts to forecast earthquakes are hampered by a lack of reliable lab or field observations. Moreover, even when changes in rock properties prior to failure (precursors) have been found, we have not known enough about the physics to rationally extrapolate lab results to tectonic faults and account for tectonic history, local plate motion, hydrogeology, or the local P/T/chemical environment. However, recent advances show: 1) clear and consistent precursors prior to earthquake-like failure in the lab and 2) that lab earthquakes can be predicted using machine learning (ML). These works show that stick-slip failure events –the lab equivalent of earthquakes– are preceded by a cascade of micro-failure events that radiate elastic energy in a manner that foretells catastrophic failure. Remarkably, ML predicts the failure time and in some cases the magnitude of lab earthquakes. Here, I propose to connect these results with field observations and use ML to search for earthquake precursors and build predictive models for tectonic faulting.
This proposal will support acquisition and analysis of seismic and geodetic data and construction of new lab equipment to unravel earthquake physics, precursors and forecasts. I will use my background in earthquake source theory, ML, fault rheology, and geodesy to address the physics of earthquake precursors, the conditions under which they can be observed for tectonic faults and the extent to which ML can forecast the spectrum of fault slip modes. My multidisciplinary team will train the next generation of researchers in earthquake science and foster a new level of broad community collaboration.


TITOLO: Hydromechanical coupling in tectonic faults and the origin of aseismic slip, quasi-dynamic transients and earthquake rupture (HYQUAKE)
ENTE FINANZIATORE: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

Earthquakes and tectonic fault slip are among the most hazardous and unpredictable natural phenomena. Fluids play a key role in tectonic faulting and recent research suggests that fluids are central in both human induced seismicity and the mode of fault slip, ranging from episodic tremor and slip to slow earthquakes. However, the lack of accessibility to earthquake faults and the complexity of physical processes has limited our ability to develop holistic models for hydromechanical coupling in fault zones. Geophysical observations have the potential for illuminating precursors to failure for the spectrum of tectonic faulting, however we lack key laboratory data to connect these observations with predictive, physics-based models. The ambitious goal of HYQUAKE is to build a physically based framework to understand and predict fluid pressure induced fault slip for a range of fault motion, from aseismic creep to destructive earthquakes. The HYQUAKE approach is interdisciplinary and at the frontier of laboratory earthquake physics, seismology and data/computer science, with the goal of providing unprecedented quantitative constraints on the key physical processes that couple fault friction, the dynamics of strain localization and fluid flow controlling earthquakes and fault slip behavior. Specifically, I will build a research program around unusually well controlled rock deformation experiments tightly connected to numerical models of faulting. HYQUAKE will integrate lab data on fault zone elastic properties, frictional rheology, and hydromechanical parameters using state-of-the-art experimental equipment built within the project with machine learning to forecast labquake. Details of deformation processes, fluid flow, and fault failure will be imaged using novel acoustic techniques. These data will set the stage for the upscaling of laboratory observations to the prediction of natural faulting by coupling physics-based machine learning with 3D hydro-mechanical models.


TITOLO: Laboratory characterization of fault slip behavior upon fluid pressurization in the low permeability Shales at Mont Terri with acoustic imaging and hydromechanical measurements                                 
ENTE FINANZIATORE: Mont Terri Consortium, Switzerland  

The LFSB experiments aim at characterizing the slip behaviour of in-situ natural fault zone within the low permeability Opalinus clay formation at the Mont Terri underground laboratory (Switzerland) upon fluid pressurization to assess the storage security and integrity of reservoir cap-rocks. Through these laboratory-scale (cm) experiments we aim at characterizing the frictional properties and stability parameters as well as the fluid flow, permeability, and acoustic (i.e., seismic velocity changes) response of samples recovered from in-situ exploration to shed light on the hydromechanical coupling that lead a fault zone to slip seismically or aseismically. A comparison between lab and in-situ experiments will contribute to bridge the gap between scales, and to identify similar or different physical behaviours.  


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