Abstract

How rapidly fault strength recovers after an earthquake is an important question for understanding the earthquake generation mechanism in seismic cycles. Here we show in laboratory experiments where a fault weakened dynamically at subseismic slip rates (∼85 mm/sec) recovers its frictional strength logarithmically with time and the healing rate of 0.2–0.3, one order of magnitude greater than those in previous studies. The fault can completely recover its frictional strength to preslip level within one day. We suggest that immediately after an earthquake a slipped fault surface can regain its potential to trigger the next earthquake, which might have important implications for forecasting future large earthquakes.

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