Energy release model of compaction band propagation

J. W. Rudnicki*, Kurt R. Sternlof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The elastic strain energy released per unit advance of a compaction band in an infinite layer of thickness h is used to identify and assess quantities relevant to propagation of isolated compaction bands observed in outcrop. If the elastic moduli of the band and the surrounding host material are similar and the band is much thinner than the layer, the energy released is simply (σ+ξhep where σ+ is the compressive stress far ahead of the band edge, ξh is the thickness of the band and εp is the uniaxial inelastic compactive strain in the band. Using representative values inferred from field data yields an energy release rate of 40 kJ/m2, which is roughly comparable with compaction energies inferred from axisymmetric compression tests on notched sandstone samples. This suggests that a critical value of the energy release rate may govern propagation, although the particular value is likely to depend on the rock type and details of the compaction process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL16303
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 28 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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