The off-fault pattern of weak seismic activity which was observed in the laboratory around fault pairs with already generated tensile cracks led to the comparison with similar patterns observed in nature in some seismoactive regions. On the basis of the results of the laboratory model experiments, the off-fault seismic activity can be attributed to fault segments oriented obliquely or roughly perpendicular to the main fault system; these fault segments may have originated as tensile fractures during one of the foregoing strong earthquakes.
To study the off-fault foreshock and aftershock occurrences, a method of laboratory seismology (physical modeling) was employed. The use of this method is based on the assumption that the obtained information on the seismic regime of fault models is relevant to the seismic manifestation of faults in the Earth. The results of laboratory experiments can thus be used to analyze the pattern of seismic energy release in selected seismoactive fault regions.