Europhys. Lett.
Volume 74, Number 6, June 2006
Page(s) 1116 - 1122
Section Geophysics, astronomy, and astrophysics
Published online 24 May 2006
Europhys. Lett., 74 (6), pp. 1116-1122 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10048-2

Broad distribution of stick-slip events in Slowly Sheared Granular Media: Table-top production of a Gutenberg-Richter-like distribution

Michael Bretz1, Russell Zaretzki1, 2, Stuart B. Field1, 3, Namiko Mitarai4 and Franco Nori1, 4

1  Department of Physics, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2  Department of Statistics, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3  Department of Physics, Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4  Frontier Research System, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) Saitama 351-0198, Japan

received 15 February 2006; accepted 13 April 2006
published online 24 May 2006

We monitor the stick-slip displacements of a very slowly driven moveable perforated top plate which interacts via shearing with a packing of identical glass beads confined in a tray. When driven at a constant stress rate, the distributions of large event displacements and energies triggered by the stick-slip instabilities exhibit power law responses reminiscent of the Gutenberg-Richter law for earthquakes. Small events are quasi-size independent, signaling crossover from single-bead transport to collective behavior.

91.30.Px - Earthquakes.
89.75.Da - Systems obeying scaling laws.
05.65.+b - Self-organized systems.

© EDP Sciences 2006