Systems of two parallel linear faults of the same length with the angle of inclination α=45° were investigated under uniaxial linearly increasing load. Perspex plates were used as models. For each treated fault configuration the morphology of tensile cracks and the sequence of seismoacoustic events of shear and tensile origin were studied.
It is shown that the seismic regime of a fault system is strongly influenced by the contact conditions on a fault plane; it is different in the faults with the aseismic contact, represented by open slits, and in the faults with the seismoactive contact, represented by filled slits, respectively.
The experiments proved the dominating role of a fast shear displacement of the stick-slip type in the regime of seismic energy release of a fault system. The tensile crack generation seems to be only of little—if not negligible—importance. On the other hand, the existence of tensile cracks in a fault system can play an important role in the course of subsequent loading cycles because the stick-slip displacements can take place not only along the primary faults but also along the planes of tensile cracks.
A comparison of some results of model experiments and the already published results of geological and seismological investigations indicated that the way of seismic energy relase on faults in nature and in the laboratory could be of the same character. Several analogies between the seismic regime of a fault model and of real seismic regions were found concerning the morphology of faults, off-fault fore- and aftershocks, and earthquake doublets, respectively.