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Mechanics of slow earthquake phenomena: an Integrated perspective from the Composition, geometry, And rheology of plate boundary faults

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MICA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: NEWPORT ROAD 30-36
postcode: CF24 ODE

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙499˙244 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙244 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2022-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    CARDIFF UNIVERSITY UK (CARDIFF) coordinator 1˙499˙244.00


 Project objective

Major tectonic faults have, until recently, been thought to accommodate displacement by either continuous creep or episodic, damaging earthquakes. High-resolution geophysical networks have now detected ‘slow earthquakes’, transient modes of displacement that are faster than creep but slower than earthquakes. This project aims to illuminate the unknown mechanism behind slow earthquakes, through an integrated, multi-scale approach. MICA uses the unique natural laboratory of exhumed and active faults, to build numerical models constrained by observed fault geometry and microstructurally defined deformation mechanisms, to determine, for the first time, the rheology of slow slip.

The first objective is to create a model of the slow earthquake source, to constrain the micro- to kilometre-scale internal geometry of plate boundary faults, and the spatial distribution of deformation mechanisms. Fault rocks also retain a deformation sequence, allowing insight to how deformation style evolves with time. Thus, a combination of drill samples from active faults and outcrops of exhumed analogues, from a range of depths, allows for a 4-D model from micro- to plate boundary scale.

By knowing the geometrical distribution of fault rocks, and deciphering their evolution in time, this project will apply geologically constrained numerical models and laboratory constrained stress-strain relationships to determine bulk fault rheology as a function of space. Unique from past models, this project integrates scales from microstructures to plate boundary scale faults, and bases rheological models on deformation mechanisms and fault structures constrained through detailed fieldwork, and also considers the state-of-the-art of geophysical observation. The model focuses on understanding slow earthquakes, but also applies to understanding whether the slow earthquake source can also host fast seismic slip, and what differentiates slowly slipping faults from faults hosting major earthquakes.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Adam Beall, Ã…ke Fagereng, Susan Ellis
Fracture and Weakening of Jammed Subduction Shear Zones, Leading to the Generation of Slow Slip Events
published pages: 4869-4884, ISSN: 1525-2027, DOI: 10.1029/2019gc008481
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 20/11 2020-03-05
2019 Susan Ellis, Francesca Ghisetti, Philip M Barnes, Carolyn Boulton, Ã…ke Fagereng, Susanne Buiter
The contemporary force balance in a wide accretionary wedge: numerical models of the southcentral Hikurangi margin of New Zealand
published pages: 776-795, ISSN: 0956-540X, DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggz317
Geophysical Journal International 219/2 2019-09-26
2019 Ã…. Fagereng, H.M. Savage, J.K. Morgan, M. Wang, F. Meneghini, P.M. Barnes, R. Bell, H. Kitajima, D.D. McNamara, D.M. Saffer, L.M. Wallace, K. Petronotis, L. LeVay
Mixed deformation styles observed on a shallow subduction thrust, Hikurangi margin, New Zealand
published pages: 872-876, ISSN: 0091-7613, DOI: 10.1130/g46367.1
Geology 47/9 2019-09-26
2019 Christian A. Stenvall, Ã…ke Fagereng, Johann F. A. Diener
Weaker Than Weakest: On the Strength of Shear Zones
published pages: 7404-7413, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2019gl083388
Geophysical Research Letters 46/13 2019-09-26
2019 Nina Hellebrekers, André R. Niemeijer, Åke Fagereng, Blackwell Manda, Richard L.S. Mvula
Lower crustal earthquakes in the East African Rift System: Insights from frictional properties of rock samples from the Malawi rift
published pages: 228167, ISSN: 0040-1951, DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2019.228167
Tectonophysics 767 2019-09-26
2019 Adam Beall, Ã…ke Fagereng, Susan Ellis
Strength of Strained Two‐Phase Mixtures: Application to Rapid Creep and Stress Amplification in Subduction Zone Mélange
published pages: 169-178, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2018gl081252
Geophysical Research Letters 46/1 2019-09-26
2019 Ã…ke Fagereng, Juliet Biggs
New perspectives on ‘geological strain rates’ calculated from both naturally deformed and actively deforming rocks
published pages: 100-110, ISSN: 0191-8141, DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2018.10.004
Journal of Structural Geology 125 2019-09-09
2017 Ã…ke Fagereng, Johann F.A. Diener, Francesca Meneghini, Chris Harris, Ada Kvadsheim
Quartz vein formation by local dehydration embrittlement along the deep, tremorgenic subduction thrust interface
published pages: 67-70, ISSN: 0091-7613, DOI: 10.1130/G39649.1
Geology 46/1 2019-06-13
2018 M. Hodge, Ã…. Fagereng, J. Biggs, H. Mdala
Controls on Early-Rift Geometry: New Perspectives From the Bilila-Mtakataka Fault, Malawi
published pages: 3896-3905, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2018gl077343
Geophysical Research Letters 45/9 2019-06-13
2018 Kohtaro Ujiie, Hanae Saishu, Ã…ke Fagereng, Naoki Nishiyama, Makoto Otsubo, Haruna Masuyama, Hiroyuki Kagi
An Explanation of Episodic Tremor and Slow Slip Constrained by Crack-Seal Veins and Viscous Shear in Subduction Mélange
published pages: 5371-5379, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078374
Geophysical Research Letters 45/11 2019-06-13

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