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Earthquake Source Physics


Research in earthquake source physics is based on the study of earthquakes, fault zones in rock, scaling behavior, source mechanism and the theory of fault rupture and wave generation.


Application of the Thermodynamics of Critical Phenomena Theory to Brittle Fracture of Materials

With an appropriate analogy for temperature, we have shown that brittle fracture can be modeled as a generalized continuous phase change exhibiting all the characteristics of a thermodynamic system at its critical point. Universality and critical scaling have been shown in our studies to exist in rock mass systems near incipient failure. The Law of Corresponding States, which applies to fluid and magnetic systems, is found to apply to rock mass failure. The well-known Griffith Theory of Brittle Fracture is shown to correspond exactly to the Landau Mean Field Theory for continuous phase transitions, where the critical exponent is 0.50. The widely used empirical Hoek-Brown failure criterion for geotechnical materials in shear stress versus normal stress space is derived using the commonly used critical exponent of 0.33.

Faculty Information

Brian Brady, PhD
Assistant Dean, Senior Instructor
Phone: 303-556-5255
Office: North Classroom 3024 D

Curriculum Vitae: Download


  • BS in Applied Mathematics, Physics, and Geology from the University of Dayton in 1961
  • MS in Applied Mathematics and Solid Earth Geophysics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965
  • PhD in Applied Mathematics, Metallurgy, and Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1969

Research Interests:

  • Physics of Brittle Fracture of Materials (both rock materials and ceramics)
  • Constitutive Relationships of Geotechnical Materials
  • Physics of Friction

Consulting Interests:

  • Fracture Mechanics
  • Metallic Structures
  • Geotechnical Materials

Related Courses

  • Engineering Mechanics-Statics
  • Engineering Mechanics-Mechanics of Materials
  • Intermediate Strength of Materials
  • Theory of Elasticity
  • Theory of Plasticity
  • Theoretical and Applied Rock Mechanics
  • Engineering Geology

For complete, up-to-date course descriptions, visit the CU Denver academic catalog and search for the course names listed above.