Crack to pulse transition and magnitude statistics during earthquake cycles on a self-similar rough fault

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116202. This is version 4 of this Preprint.

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Authors

Elias Rafn Heimisson 

Abstract

Faults in nature demonstrate fluctuations from planarity at most length scales that are relevant for earthquake dynamics. These fluctuations may influence all stages of the seismic cycle; earthquake nucleation, propagation, arrest, and inter-seismic behavior. Here I show quasi-dynamic plane-strain simulations of earthquake cycles on a self-similar and finite 10 km long rough fault with amplitude-to-wavelength ratio $\alpha = 0.01$. The minimum roughness wavelength, $\lambda_{min}$, and nucleation length scales are well resolved and much smaller than the fault length. Stress relaxation and fault loading is implemented using a variation of the backslip approach, which allows for efficient simulations of multiple cycles without stresses becoming unrealistically large. I explore varying $\lambda_{min}$ for the same stochastically generated realization of a rough fractal fault. Decreasing $\lambda_{min}$ causes the minimum and maximum earthquakes sizes to decrease. Thus the fault seismicity is characterized by smaller and more numerous earthquakes, on the other hand, increasing the $\lambda_{min}$ results in fewer and larger events. However, in all cases, the inferred b-value is constant and the same as for a reference no-roughness simulation ($\alpha = 0$). I identify a new mechanism for generating pulse-like ruptures. Seismic events are initially crack-like, but at a critical length scale, they continue to propagate as pulses, locking in an approximately fixed amount of slip. I investigate this transition using simple arguments and derive a characteristic pulse length, $L_c = {\lambda_{min}}/({4 \pi^4 \alpha^2})$ and slip distance, $\delta_c$ based on roughness drag. I hypothesize that the ratio $\lambda_{min}/\alpha^2$ can be roughly estimated from kinematic rupture models. Furthermore, I suggest that when the fault size is much larger than $L_c$, then most space-time characteristics of slip differ between a rough fault and a corresponding planar fault.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/7aubs

Subjects

Earth Sciences, Engineering, Geophysics and Seismology, Mechanical Engineering, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tectonics and Structure, Tribology

Keywords

earthquake, rate-and-state friction, Earthquake cycle simulations, Earthquake ruptures, Earthquake statistics, Pulses, Rough faults

Dates

Published: 2019-10-08 08:05

Last Updated: 2020-03-09 18:51

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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