skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: A Spectral Boundary-Integral Method for Quasi-Dynamic Ruptures of Multiple Parallel Faults
ABSTRACT Numerical models of rupture dynamics provide great insights into the physics of fault failure. However, resolving stress interactions among multiple faults remains challenging numerically. Here, we derive the elastostatic Green’s functions for stress and displacement caused by arbitrary slip distributions along multiple parallel faults. The equations are derived in the Fourier domain, providing an efficient means to calculate stress interactions with the fast Fourier transform. We demonstrate the relevance of the method for a wide range of applications, by simulating the rupture dynamics of single and multiple parallel faults controlled by a rate- and state-dependent frictional contact, using the spectral boundary integral method and the radiation-damping approximation. Within the antiplane strain approximation, we show seismic cycle simulations with a power-law distribution of rupture sizes and, in a different parameter regime, sequences of seismogenic slow-slip events. Using the in-plane strain approximation, we simulate the rupture dynamics of a restraining stepover. Finally, we describe cycles of large earthquakes along several parallel strike-slip faults in three dimensions. The approach is useful to explore the dynamics of interacting or isolated faults with many degrees of freedom.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Detailed imaging of accretionary wedges reveals splay fault networks that could pose a significant tsunami hazard. However, the dynamics of multiple splay fault activation during megathrust earthquakes and the consequent effects on tsunami generation are not well understood. We use a 2‐D dynamic rupture model with complex topo‐bathymetry and six curved splay fault geometries constrained from realistic tectonic loading modeled by a geodynamic seismic cycle model with consistent initial stress and strength conditions. We find that all splay faults rupture coseismically. While the largest splay fault slips due to a complex rupture branching process from the megathrust, all other splay faults are activated either top down or bottom up by dynamic stress transfer induced by trapped seismic waves. We ascribe these differences to local non‐optimal fault orientations and variable along‐dip strength excess. Generally, rupture on splay faults is facilitated by their favorable stress orientations and low strength excess as a result of high pore‐fluid pressures. The ensuing tsunami modeled with non‐linear 1‐D shallow water equations consists of one high‐amplitude crest related to rupture on the longest splay fault and a second broader wave packet resulting from slip on the other faults. This results in two episodes of flooding and a larger run‐up distance than the single long‐wavelength (300 km) tsunami sourced by the megathrust‐only rupture. Since splay fault activation is determined by both variable stress and strength conditions and dynamic activation, considering both tectonic and earthquake processes is relevant for understanding tsunamigenesis.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    In this paper we investigate the dynamic behavior of a system of interconnected faults in the Brawley Seismic Zone (BSZ) in southern California. The system of faults includes the southern San Andreas Fault (SSAF), the Imperial Fault (IF), and a set of cross faults in the BSZ that may serve as connecting structures between the two larger faults. Geological and seismic evidence imply that the SSAF and IF may have buried extensions that link them together in a large‐scale step over, with the cross faults in the BSZ cutting between them. Such a configuration poses the question of whether through‐going rupture across the step over is possible in this region, leading to large, plate‐boundary scale earthquakes. We investigate potential earthquakes in this region through 3‐D dynamic finite element spontaneous rupture modeling. We find that under multiple assumptions about fault stress and fault geometry, through‐going rupture is possible, both from north to south and south to north. Participation of the cross faults is facilitated by two factors: absence of rupture on one of the main two faults and a contrast in prestress between the main faults and the cross faults, leading to slow propagation speed on the main faults while maintaining ease of failure on the cross faults. The pattern of rupture propagation and slip is strongly affected by fault‐to‐fault dynamic stress interactions during the rupture process. The results may have implications for both potential earthquakes in this region, as well as for understanding the dynamics of geometrically complex/branched faults in general.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Mature faults with large cumulative slip often separate rocks with dissimilar elastic properties and show asymmetric damage distribution. Elastic contrast across such bimaterial faults can significantly modify various aspects of earthquake rupture dynamics, including normal stress variations, rupture propagation direction, distribution of ground motions, and evolution of off‐fault damage. Thus, analyzing elastic contrasts of bimaterial faults is important for understanding earthquake physics and related hazard potential. The effect of elastic contrast between isotropic materials on rupture dynamics is relatively well studied. However, most fault rocks are elastically anisotropic, and little is known about how the anisotropy affects rupture dynamics. We examine microstructures of the Sandhill Corner shear zone, which separates quartzofeldspathic rock and micaceous schist with wider and narrower damage zones, respectively. This shear zone is part of the Norumbega fault system, a Paleozoic, large‐displacement, seismogenic, strike‐slip fault system exhumed from middle crustal depths. We calculate elastic properties and seismic wave speeds of elastically anisotropic rocks from each unit having different proportions of mica grains aligned sub‐parallel to the fault. Our findings show that the horizontally polarized shear wave propagating parallel to the bimaterial fault (with fault‐normal particle motion) is the slowest owing to the fault‐normal compliance and therefore may be important in determining the elastic contrast that affects rupture dynamics in anisotropic media. Following results from subshear rupture propagation models in isotropic media, our results are consistent with ruptures preferentially propagated in the slip direction of the schist, which has the slower horizontal shear wave and larger fault‐normal compliance.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar is an important tool for imaging surface deformation from large continental earthquakes. Here, we present maps of coseismic displacement and strain from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes using multiple Sentinel-1 images. We provide three types of interferometric products. (1) Standard interferograms from two look directions provide an overview of the deformation and can be used for modeling coseismic slip. (2) Phase gradient maps from stacks of coseismic interferograms provide high-resolution (∼30  m) images of strain concentration and surface fracturing that can be used to guide field surveys. (3) High-pass filtered, stacked, unwrapped phase is decomposed into east–west and up–down, south–north components and is used to determine the sense of fault slip. The resulting phase gradient maps reveal over 300 surface fractures, including triggered slip on the Garlock fault. The east–west component of high-pass filtered phase reveals the polarity of the strike-slip offset (right lateral or left lateral) for many of the fractures. We find a small number of fractures that have slip polarity that is retrograde to the background tectonic stress. This is similar to observations of retrograde slip observed near the 1999 Mw 7.1 Hector Mine rupture, but the Ridgecrest observations are more completely imaged by the frequent and high-quality acquisitions from the twin Sentinel-1 spacecrafts. Determining whether the retrograde features are triggered slip on existing faults, or compliant fault deformation in response to stress changes from the Ridgecrest earthquakes, or new Coulomb-style failures, will require additional field work, modeling, and analysis. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Strain partitioning in oblique convergent margins results in margin‐parallel shear in the overriding plate. Margin‐parallel shear is often accommodated by margin‐parallel strike‐slip faults proximal to active volcanic arcs. Along the Nicaraguan segment of the Central American Forearc (CAFA) in the Cocos‐Caribbean plate convergent margin, there are no well‐expressed right‐lateral faults that accommodate CA‐CAFA relative motion. Instead, historical earthquakes and mapped fault orientations indicate that the ∼12 mm/yr of dextral motion is accommodated on arc‐normal, left‐lateral faults (i.e., bookshelf faults). We investigate three upper‐plate earthquakes; the 10 April 2014 (Mw6.1), 15 September 2016 (Mw5.7), and 28 September 2016 (Mw5.5), using Global Position System co‐seismic displacements and relocated earthquake aftershocks. Our analyses of the three earthquakes indicate that the 10 April 2014 earthquake ruptured an unmapped margin‐parallel right‐lateral fault in Lago Xolotlán (Managua) and the September 2016 earthquakes ruptured arc‐normal, left‐lateral and oblique‐slip faults. These earthquakes represent a triggered sequence whereby the 10 April 2014 earthquake promoted failure of the faults that ruptured in September 2016 by imparting a static Coulomb stress change (ΔCFS) of 0.02–0.07 MPa. Likewise, the 15 September 2016, earthquake additionally promoted failure (ΔCFS of 0.08–0.1 MPa) on sub‐parallel faults that ruptured in two subsequent earthquakes. We also present an instance of magma‐tectonic interaction whereby the 10 April 2014 earthquake dilated (10s of μStrain) the shallow magmatic system of Momotombo Volcano, which led to magma injection, ascent, and eruption on 1 December 2015, after ∼100 years of quiescence.

    more » « less