Dynamic rupture propagation on fault planes with explicit representation of short branches

Xiao Ma, & Ahmed Elbanna

Published October 2019, SCEC Contribution #9021

Active fault zones are homes for a plethora of complex structural and geometric features that are expected to affect earthquake rupture nucleation, propagation, and arrest, as well asinterseismic deformation. Simulation of these complexities have been largely done using continuum plasticity or scalar damage theories. In this paper, we use a highly efficient novel hybrid finite element-spectral boundary integral equation scheme to investigate the dynamics of fault zones with small scale pre-existing branches as a first step towards explicit representation of anisotropic damage features in fault zones. The hybrid computational scheme enables exact near-field truncation of the elastodynamic field allowing us to use high resolution finite element discretization in a narrow region surrounding the fault zone that encompasses the small scale branches while remaining computationally efficient. Our results suggest that the small scale branches may influence the rupture in ways that may not be realizable in homogenized continuum models. Specifically, we show that these short secondary branches significantly affect the post event stress state on the main fault leading to strong heterogeneities in both normal and shear stresses and also contribute to the enhanced generation of high frequency radiation. The secondary branches also affect off-fault plastic strain distribution and suggest that co-seismic inelasticity is sensitive to pre-existing damage features. We discuss our results in the larger context of the need for modeling earthquake ruptures with high resolution fault zone physics

Ma, X., & Elbanna, A. (2019). Dynamic rupture propagation on fault planes with explicit representation of short branches. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 523. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.07.005. https://eartharxiv.org/xesnz/

Related Projects & Working Groups
Towards Dynamic Rupture Simulations with High Resolution Fault Zone Inelasticity, Fault and Rupture Mechanics (FARM), Computational Science