12 Dec 2022
12 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Standardized field methods for fracture-focused surface processes research

Martha Cary Eppes1, Jennifer Aldred2, Samantha Berberich1, Maxwell P. Dahlquist3, Sarah G. Evans4, Russell Keanini5, Faye Moser1, Mehdi Morovati5, Steven Porson1, Monica Rasmussen1, Alex Rinehart6, and Uri Shaanan7 Martha Cary Eppes et al.
  • 1Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
  • 2New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM, USA
  • 3Department of Geology, University of the South, Sewanee, TN 37383, USA
  • 4Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, 28608, USA
  • 5Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
  • 6Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM, 87801, USA
  • 7Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem 9692100, Israel

Abstract. Rock fracturing comprises a key component of a broad array of Earth surface processes due to its direct control on rock strength as well as rock porosity and permeability. However, to date, there has been no standardization for the quantification of rock fractures in surface processes research. In this work, we make the case for standardization within fracture-focused research and review prior work to identify various key datasets and methodologies. We then present a suite of standardized methods that we propose as ‘baseline’ for fracture-based research in surfaces processes studies. These methods have been shown in preexisting work from structural geology, fracture mechanics, and surface processes disciplines to comprise best practices for the characterization for cracks, clasts, and outcrops. These practical, accessible and detailed methods can readily be employed across all fracture-focused weathering and geomorphology applications. The wide adoption of a baseline of data, all collected using the same methods, will enable comparison and compilation of data among studies globally, and ultimately will lead to a better understanding of the links and feedbacks between rock fracture and landscape evolution.

Martha Cary Eppes et al.

Status: open (until 04 Mar 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on esurf-2022-61', Stephen Laubach, 12 Dec 2022 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on CC1', Martha-Cary Eppes, 27 Jan 2023 reply
      • CC2: 'Reply on AC2 fracture versus crack', Stephen Laubach, 27 Jan 2023 reply
  • AC1: 'Comment on esurf-2022-61', Martha-Cary Eppes, 14 Dec 2022 reply

Martha Cary Eppes et al.

Martha Cary Eppes et al.


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Short summary
All rocks have cracks that can influence virtually every process acting on Earth's surface where humans live. Yet, scientists have not standardized their methods for collecting crack data. Here we draw on past work across geo-disciplines to show why standardization is important and propose a list of baseline data for fracture-focused surface processes research. We detail its rationale and the methods for collecting it. We hope its wide adoption will improve knowledge of rock fracture overall.