Fault-zone damage promotes pulse-like rupture and back-propagating fronts via quasi-static effects

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090736. This is version 2 of this Preprint.


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Benjamin Idini, Jean Paul Ampuero 


Damage zones are ubiquitous components of faults that may affect earthquake rupture.
Simulations show that pulse-like rupture can be induced by the dynamic effect of waves reflected by sharp fault zone boundaries. Here we show that pulses can appear in a highly damaged fault zone even in the absence of reflected waves. We use quasi-static scaling arguments and quasi-dynamic earthquake cycle simulations to show that a crack turns into a pulse after the rupture has grown larger than the fault zone thickness. Accompanying the pulses, we find complex rupture patterns involving back-propagating fronts that emerge from the primary rupture front. Our model provides a mechanism for back-propagating fronts recently observed during large earthquakes. Moreover, we find that slow-slip simulations in a highly-compliant fault zone also produce back-propagating fronts, suggesting a new mechanism for the rapid-tremor-reversals observed in Cascadia and Japan.




Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Published: 2019-12-25 17:22

Last Updated: 2022-03-24 15:45

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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