Ductility (Earth science)

Ductility (Earth science)

In Earth science, the brittle-ductile transition zone is a zone, at an approximate depth of 15 km (9 mi) in continental crust, at which rock becomes less likely to fracture and more likely to deform ductilely. In glacial ice this zone is at approximately 30 m (100 ft) depth. It is still possible for material above a brittle-ductile transition zone to deform ductilely, and possible for material below to deform brittly. The zone exists because as depth increases confining pressure increases, and brittle strength increases with confining pressure whilst ductile strength decreases with increasing temperature. The transition zone occurs at the point where brittle strength exceeds ductile strength.


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