Solitary wave in a Burridge-Knopoff model with slip-dependent friction as a clue to understanding the mechanism of the self-healing slip pulse in an earthquake rupture process
- Institute of Geophysics, China Seismological Bureau, 100081 Beijing, China
Abstract. A one-dimensional Burridge-Knopoff spring-block model with slip-dependent friction was studied to explore the possibility of a solitary wave solution existing for the problem of earthquake faulting. The result may be used as an alternative case of the crack model (e.g., Madariaga and Cochard, 1996) and the spring-block model with velocity-dependent friction (e.g., Carlson and Langer, 1989) in the understanding of the mechanism of the self-healing slip pulse proposed by Heaton (1990). In general, the conditions for a solitary wave solution to exist are discussed by the trajectory in the phase space. By taking the first order approximation, it is demonstrated that a solitary wave solution exists in which the slip behaves as a propagating solitary wave with the propagation velocity less than that of an acoustic (seismic) wave, and the source time function at each position remains the same. As an alternative approach other than numerical calculations, the analytical solution, although simple, sheds light on some of the properties of the self-healing slip pulse. From the solution it is seen that the width of the pulse depends on its propagation velocity and the friction, consistent with experience in physics. It is pointed out that the self-healing slip pulse may exist for a broad class of frictional constitutive laws which, to some extent, explains the fact that the self-healing slip pulse may be observed for a variety of earthquakes occurring within different seismogenic environments.