Hydrothermal deformation of granular quartz sand Academic Article uri icon


  • Isotropic and triaxial compression experiments were performed on porous aggregates of St Peter quartz sand to explore the influence of temperature (to 225C). During isotropic stressing, samples loaded at elevated temperature exhibit the same sigmoidal stress-strain curves and non-linear acoustic emission rates as have previously been observed from room temperature studies on sands, sandstones, and soils. However, results from our hydrothermal experiments show that the critical effective pressure (P*) associated with the onset of significant pore collapse and pervasive cataclastic flow is lower at increased temperature. Samples subjected to triaxial loading at elevated temperature show yield behavior resembling that observed from room temperature studies on granular rocks and soils. When considered in terms of distortional and mean stresses, the yield strength data for a given temperature define an elliptical envelope consistent with critical state and CAP models from soil mechanics. For the conditions we tested, triaxial yield data at low effective pressure are essentially temperature-insensitive whereas yield levels at high effective pressure are lowered as a function of elevated temperature. We interpret our yield data in a manner consistent with Arrhenius behavior expected for thermally assisted subcritical crack growth. Taken together, our results indicate that increased stresses and temperatures associated with subsurface burial will significantly alter the yield strength of deforming granular media in systematic and predictable ways. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Karner, S. L., Kronenberg, A. K., Chester, F. M., Chester, J. S., & Hajash, A. J.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Karner, Stephen L||Kronenberg, Andreas K||Chester, Frederick M||Chester, Judith S||Hajash, Andrew Jr

publication date

  • May 2008