Impact-induced tensional failure in rock

T. J. Ahrens, A. M. Rubin

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109 Scopus citations


Planar impact experiments were employed to induce dynamic tensile failure in Bedford limestone. Rock discs were impacted with aluminum and polymethyl methacralate flyer plates at velocities of 10 to 25 m/s. Ultrasonic P and S wave velocities of recovered targets were compared to the velocities prior to impact. Velocity reduction, and by inference microcrack production, occurred in samples subjected to stresses above 35 MPa in the 1.3-μs PMMA experiments and 60 MPa in the 0.5-μs aluminum experiments. Three-dimensional impact experiments were conducted on 20 cm-sized blocks of Bedford limestone and San Marcos gabbro. The damage decreases as ~r-1.5 from the crater indicating a dependence on the magnitude and duration of the tensile pulse. Using the observed variation in damage with tensile stress from the one-dimensional experiments, and estimates of the variation of peak dynamic tensile stress and tensile stress duration with distance from an impact on an elastic half-space, the observed dependence of damage with radius in the three-dimensional experiments is theoretically predicted and compares favorably with experimental data. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1203
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberE1
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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