Continuum of earthquake rupture speeds enabled by oblique slip

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 3 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Huihui Weng, Jean Paul Ampuero 


Earthquake rupture speed can affect ground shaking and thus seismic hazard. Seismological observations show that large earthquakes span a continuum of rupture speeds, from slower than Rayleigh waves up to P wave speed, and include speeds that are predicted to be unstable by 2D theory. This discrepancy between observations and theory has not yet been reconciled by a quantitative model. Here we present numerical simulations that show that long ruptures with oblique slip (both strike-slip and dip-slip components) can propagate steadily at various speeds, including those previously suggested to be unstable. The obliqueness of slip and the ratio of fracture energy to static energy release rate primarily control the propagation speed of long ruptures. We find that the effects of these controls on rupture speed can be predicted by extending the 3D theory of fracture mechanics to long ruptures with oblique slip. We propose that this model provides a quantitative framework to interpret supershear earthquakes, to constrain the energy ratio of faults based on observed rupture speed and rake angle, and to relate the potential rupture speed and size of future earthquakes to the observed slip deficit along faults.



Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Published: 2020-03-31 12:29

Last Updated: 2020-07-29 12:13

Older Versions

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.