We observed slow frictional slip occurring at a constant shear stress below the nominal friction level and compared it with the time-dependent strengthening of the frictional interface, which was also tracked experimentally. It was found that slip velocity decreases as the interface strengthens due to aging, while it increases with the applied shear stress. These dependencies were both exponential and were of similar magnitudes, as implied by the framework law of rate- and state-dependent friction. In the spirit of the adhesion theory of friction the dependence of slip velocity on interface strength is understood to be the result of the change of the shear stress acting on frictional junctions due to the change of junction population, though the observed dependence was somewhat stronger than a simple model based on this idea predicts. By correcting the observed slip velocity for the effect of the change of the interface strength, we could obtain a unique relationship between stress and slip velocity, which may be readily compared with a standard rheological formulation. Thus the obtained relationship between stress and slip velocity showed a reasonable agreement with the absolute rate theory over a temperature range of 25-800 degreesC for the present experimental condition (fine albite powder, 20 MPa normal stress, no pore water).
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