DEM: Shear zones 1. Movie of shear failure



Development of a shear zone in a Discrete Element Model. To permit localisation onto a central plane, an initial damage zone is generated by breaking bonds between a percentage of the elements, this is demonstrated by elements that are coloured grey. To initiate shear, the top wall is incremented to the right and the bottom wall toward the left. This figure focuses on the central third (vertically) of the model. Boundary conditions in the x-orientation are wrapped so elements that exit on one side of the model appear on the opposite side. Elements are coloured when a further bond to a neighbour is broken. The colourbar ranges from yellow (1) to black (5+). Some elements remain grey because all the bonds to their neighbours were broken when the shear zone was initiated. These elements are passively transported within the shear zone. The experiment runs for 80,000 time steps. Elements from this model can be defined as receivers and their accelerations plotted as proxies for seismic events within the shear zone (see
Date made available16 May 2022
PublisherUniversity of Manchester Figshare


  • rock formation and faulting
  • shear zone
  • numerical modelling and simulation
  • structural geology
  • tectonics

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