Abstract

We continue to investigate the properties of an earthquake model that is based on the physically reasonable assumption that some small section of the fault, referred to as a quantum, must have the same failure criteria (Sacks and Rydelek, 1995). In the simplest case studied to date, the failure criteria is controlled by the physics of Coulomb failure. When this section fails, there is a redistribution of the stress drop onto nearest neighbors. These neighboring quanta, if already near failure, may produce further rupture and so forth for neighbors of neighbors. For larger events comprised of many failed quanta, this cascade process produces a rupture front of limited width and with a variable rate of propagation. In the rupture front, there can be multiple reactivation (i.e., the cycle of fracturing and healing), which governs the duration of the rise time; this rise time is found to be of much shorter duration than the total rupture time of the event. In addition, even though the failure parameters of the quanta are somewhat similar (within 20%), the chaotic behavior of the faulting process and the stress redistribution from numerous smaller events leading up to a large event can give rise to apparent nonphysical asperities, i.e., subregions with larger than average slip. That such characteristics are observed in real earthquakes lends support to the underlying physics that governs our model.

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