Potential research applications for large-specimen geophysical experiments include measurements of scale dependence of physical parameters and examination of interactions with heterogeneities, especially flaws such as cracks. In addition, increased specimen size provides opportunities for improved recording resolution and greater control of experimental variables. Large-scale experiments using a special purpose low stress (<40 MPa) biaxial apparatus demonstrate that a minimum fault length is required to generate confined shear instabilities along pre-existing faults. Experimental analysis of source interactions for simulated earthquakes consisting of confined shear instabilities on a fault with gouge appears to require large specimens (˜1m) and high confining pressures (> 100 MPa).
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