Earthquake simulations with time-dependent nucleation and long-range interactions
- U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS/977, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
Abstract. A model for rapid simulation of earthquake sequences is introduced which incorporates long-range elastic interactions among fault elements and time-dependent earthquake nucleation inferred from experimentally derived rate- and state-dependent fault constitutive properties. The model consists of a planar two-dimensional fault surface which is periodic in both the x- and y-directions. Elastic interactions among fault elements are represented by an array of elastic dislocations. Approximate solutions for earthquake nucleation and dynamics of earthquake slip are introduced which permit computations to proceed in steps that are determined by the transitions from one sliding state to the next. The transition-driven time stepping and avoidance of systems of simultaneous equations permit rapid simulation of large sequences of earthquake events on computers of modest capacity, while preserving characteristics of the nucleation and rupture propagation processes evident in more detailed models. Earthquakes simulated with this model reproduce many of the observed spatial and temporal characteristics of clustering phenomena including foreshock and aftershock sequences. Clustering arises because the time dependence of the nucleation process is highly sensitive to stress perturbations caused by nearby earthquakes. Rate of earthquake activity following a prior earthquake decays according to Omori's aftershock decay law and falls off with distance.