• stars: neutron


We consider the dynamics of a mechanical failure induced by a shear stress in a strongly magnetized neutron star crust. We show that even if the elastic properties of the crust allow the creation of a shear crack, the strongly sheared magnetic field around the crack leads to a back-reaction from the Lorentz force which does not allow large relative displacement of the crack surfaces. Instead, the global evolution of the crack proceeds on a slow resistive time-scale, and is unable to release any substantial mechanical energy. Our calculations demonstrate that for some magnetic-field configurations, the magnetic forces cause, effectively, a plastic deformation of the crust when the resulting elastic shear stress exceeds the critical value for the mechanical failure.