Spatio-temporal clustering of seismicity enabled by off-fault plasticity

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Md Shumon Mia, Mohamed Abdelmeguid , Ahmed Elbanna


While significant progress has been made in understanding earthquake source processes in linear elastic domains, the effect of more realistic rheologies including plasticity is poorly understood. Here, we simulate sequence of earthquake and aseismic slip of a 2D antiplane rate-and-state fault embedded in a full-space elastic-plastic bulk. We show that off-fault plasticity may lead to partial ruptures as well as temporal clustering of seismic events. Furthermore, the interaction of fault slip and off-fault plasticity results in pockets of slip deficit. While the energy dissipated through plastic deformation remains a small fraction of the total energy budget, its impact on the source characteristics is disproportionally large through the redistribution of stresses and viscous relaxation. Our results suggest a new mechanism of dynamic heterogeneity in earthquake physics that may have important implications on earthquake size distribution and energy budget.



Applied Mechanics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dynamics and Dynamical Systems, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, Engineering Science and Materials, Geophysics and Seismology, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanics of Materials, Other Mechanical Engineering, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tribology


friction, Plasticity, earthquakes, Numerical Simulations, plasticity, Earthquakes, numerical simulations


Published: 2021-12-06 10:34

Last Updated: 2022-04-14 06:26

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International