This paper outlines a new method, the “split node technique” for introducing fault displacements into finite element numerical computations. The value of the displacement at a single node point shared between two elements depends upon which element it is referred to, thus introducing a displacement discontinuity between the two elements. We show that the modification induced by this splitting can be contained in the load vector, so that the stiffness matrix is not altered. The number of degrees of freedom is not increased by splitting. This method can be implemented entirely on the local element level, and we show rigorously that no net forces or moments are induced on the finite element grid when isoparametric elements are used. This method is thus of great utility in many geological and engineering applications.

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