Experimental investigations on dating the last earthquake event using OSL signals of quartz from fault gouges

Jae Hoon Kim, Jin Han Ree, Jeong Heon Choi, Naveen Chauhan, Takehiro Hirose, Manami Kitamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Obtaining a reliable age of the latest seismic slip event along an active fault is important for seismic hazard assessment. Here, we observe changes in the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) signal of quartz crystals due to frictional heating in artificial fault gouges (comprising a mixture of quartz grains and Ca-bentonite powder). The fault gouge was deformed using a high-velocity rotary-shear apparatus at room temperature and room humidity. At a seismic slip rate of 1.31 m·s−1, intense slip localization occurred along a very thin layer (~300 μm thick) within the simulated fault zones (1 mm thick). The estimated temperature of the slip-localized layer (SLL) increased by ~475 °C from frictional heating. The quartz OSL signals of the gouges were fully reset, most noticeably for the SLL. In contrast, there was rare slip-localization at subseismic slip rates (0.06–0.001 m·s−1), for which the estimated temperature rise in the SLL was ~120 °C; hence, the quartz OSL signal was not reset under this condition. The results suggest that quartz OSL dating can be used to constrain the age of the latest seismic event in natural quartz-bearing fault zones where a SLL occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228191
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Andre Niemeijer and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that improved the manuscript. This work was supported by the Nuclear Safety Research Program through the Korea Foundation of Nuclear Safety (KoFONS) using financial resources granted by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) of the Republic of Korea (No. 1705010 ) and in part by the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Research Fund (to JH Ree).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Fault gouge
  • Frictional heating
  • High-velocity rotary-shear apparatus
  • Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating
  • Slip localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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