Articles | Volume 18, issue 6
Research article
14 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 14 Dec 2011

A fault and seismicity based composite simulation in northern California

M. B. Yıkılmaz, E. M. Heien, D. L. Turcotte, J. B. Rundle, and L. H. Kellogg

Abstract. We generate synthetic catalogs of seismicity in northern California using a composite simulation. The basis of the simulation is the fault based "Virtual California" (VC) earthquake simulator. Back-slip velocities and mean recurrence intervals are specified on model strike-slip faults. A catalog of characteristic earthquakes is generated for a period of 100 000 yr. These earthquakes are predominantly in the range M = 6 to M = 8, but do not follow Gutenberg-Richter (GR) scaling at lower magnitudes. In order to model seismicity on unmapped faults we introduce background seismicity which occurs randomly in time with GR scaling and is spatially associated with the VC model faults. These earthquakes fill in the GR scaling down to M = 4 (the smallest earthquakes modeled). The rate of background seismicity is constrained by the observed rate of occurrence of M > 4 earthquakes in northern California. These earthquakes are then used to drive the BASS (branching aftershock sequence) model of aftershock occurrence. The BASS model is the self-similar limit of the ETAS (epidemic type aftershock sequence) model. Families of aftershocks are generated following each Virtual California and background main shock. In the simulations the rate of occurrence of aftershocks is essentially equal to the rate of occurrence of main shocks in the magnitude range 4 < M < 7. We generate frequency-magnitude and recurrence interval statistics both regionally and fault specific. We compare our modeled rates of seismicity and spatial variability with observations.