Ultrasonic velocities, acoustic emission characteristics and crack damage of basalt and granite

Sergei Stanchits, Sergio Vinciguerra, Georg Dresen

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216 Citations (Scopus)


Acoustic emissions (AE), compressional (P), shear (S) wave velocities, and volumetric strain of Etna basalt and Aue granite were measured simultaneously during triaxial compression tests. Deformation-induced AE activity and velocity changes were monitored using twelve P-wave sensors and eight orthogonally polarized S-wave piezoelectric sensors; volumetric strain was measured using two pairs of orthogonal strain gages glued directly to the rock surface. P-wave velocity in basalt is about 3 km/s at atmospheric pressure, but increases by > 50% when the hydrostatic pressure is increased to 120 MPa. In granite samples initial P-wave velocity is 5 km/s and increases with pressure by < 20%. The pressure-induced changes of elastic wave speed indicate dominantly compliant low-aspect ratio pores in both materials, in addition Etna basalt also contains high-aspect ratio voids. In triaxial loading, stress-induced anisotropy of P-wave velocities was significantly higher for basalt than for granite, with vertical velocity components being faster than horizontal velocities. However, with increasing axial load, horizontal velocities show a small increase for basalt but a significant decrease for granite. Using first motion polarity we determined AE source types generated during triaxial loading of the samples. With increasing differential stress AE activity in granite and basalt increased with a significant contribution of tensile events. Close to failure the relative contribution of tensile events and horizontal wave velocities decreased significantly. A concomitant increase of double-couple events indicating shear, suggests shear cracks linking previously formed tensile cracks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-993
Number of pages20
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic emission
  • Fracture
  • Rock
  • Ultrasonic velocity


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