Much of the complexity of subduction-zone earthquake size and temporal patterns owes to linkages among fluid flow, stress, and fault healing. To investigate these linkages, we introduce a novel numerical model that tracks cementation and fluid flow within the framework of an earthquake simulator. In the model, there are interseismic increases in cohesion across the plate boundary and decreases in porosity and permeability caused by cementation along the interface. Seismogenic slip is sensitive to the effective stress and therefore fluid pressure; in turn, slip events increase porosity by fracturing. The model therefore accounts for positive and negative feedbacks that modify slip behavior through the seismic cycle. The model produces temporal clustering of earthquakes in the seismic record of the Aleutian margin, which has well-documented along-strike variations in locking characteristics. Model results illustrate how physical, geochemical, and hydraulic linkages can affect natural slip behavior. Specifically, coseismic drops in fluid pressure steal energy from large ruptures, suppress slip, moderate the magnitudes of large earthquakes, and lead to aftershocks.
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Research Article| May 19, 2021
How cementation and fluid flow influence slip behavior at the subduction interface
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J.N. Hooker, D.M. Fisher; How cementation and fluid flow influence slip behavior at the subduction interface. Geology 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G48741.1
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