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Chapter 1
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Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12

Chapter 9: Brittle Behavior

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This limestone bed (see above) from Lilstock Beach on the southern margin of the Bristol Channel, England, is broken by numerous fractures, providing visual evidence of inelastic behavior (Rawnsley et al., 1998; Engelder and Peacock, 2001). In this chapter we contemplate this singular phenomenon and describe the modern concepts, laboratory data, and fracture mechanics required to understand it. We infer from the fractures that these rocks have deformed in a brittle state and seek to understand the consequences of brittle behavior for the state of stress and strain, the nature of the physical mechanisms that operate during such deformation, and the reasons why inelastic deformation may be localized into thin tabular zones. Brittle deformation is manifest in rock structures including microcracks, joints, veins, dikes, deformation bands, compaction bands, and faults.