Abstract

The critical breakdown displacement, Dc, in which friction drops to its sliding value, can be made dependent on event size by specifying friction to be a function of variables other than slip. Two such friction laws are examined here. The first is designed to achieve accuracy and smoothness in discrete numerical calculations. Consistent resolution throughout an evolving rupture is achieved by specifying friction as a function of elapsed time after peak stress is reached. Such a time-weakening model produces Dc and fracture energy proportional to the square root of distance rupture has propagated in the case of uniform stress drop. The second friction law is more physically motivated. Energy loss in a damage zone outside the slip zone has the effect of increasing Dc and limiting peak slip velocity (Andrews, 1976). This article demonstrates a converse effect, that artificially limiting slip velocity on a fault in an elastic medium has a toughening effect, increasing fracture energy and Dc proportionally to rupture propagation distance in the case of uniform stress drop. Both the time-weakening and the velocity-toughening models can be used in calculations with heterogeneous stress drop.

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