A fault zone is considered an open nonequilibrium dynamic system in which its constituent subsystems evolve by self-organization in a nonlinear synergetic process of successive changes of structural levels (stages). A new term fault dissipative structure is suggested for an ordered 3D space-time structure produced in a fault zone by self-organization of fracturess of different scales. The approach is used in physical modeling to simulate the evolution of a strike-slip fault zone in an elastic-viscoplastic lithosphere and to recognize space and time criteria diagnostic of fault dissipative structures through fractal and entropy analyses.

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