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A growing body of evidence suggests that fluids are intimately linked to a variety of faulting processes. These include the long-term structural and compositional evolution of fault zones; fault creep; and the nucleation, propagation, arrest, and recurrence of earthquake ruptures. Besides the widely recognized physical role of fluid pressures in controlling the strength of crustal fault zones, it is also apparent that fluids can exert mechanical influence through a variety of chemical effects.

To address these issues, a “Red-Book” Conference on the Mechanical Effects of Fluids in Faulting was sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey under the auspices of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program at Fish Camp, Calif., from June 6–10, 1993. The coconvenors were Steve Hickman, Rick Sibson, and Ron Bruhn.