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.
The Húsavík‐Flatey Fault Zone (HFFZ) is the largest strike‐slip fault in Iceland and poses a high seismic risk to coastal communities. To investigate physics‐based constraints on earthquake hazards, we construct three fault system models of varying geometric complexity and model 79 3‐D multi‐fault dynamic rupture scenarios in the HFFZ. By assuming a simple regional prestress and varying hypocenter locations, we analyze the rupture dynamics, fault interactions, and the associated ground motions up to 2.5 Hz. All models account for regional seismotectonics, topo‐bathymetry, 3‐D subsurface velocity, viscoelastic attenuation, and off‐fault plasticity, and we explore the effect of fault roughness. The rupture scenarios obey earthquake scaling relations and predict magnitudes comparable to those of historical events. We show how fault system geometry and segmentation, hypocenter location, and prestress can affect the potential for rupture cascading, leading to varying slip distributions across different portions of the fault system. Our earthquake scenarios yield spatially heterogeneous near‐field ground motions modulated by geometric complexities, topography, and rupture directivity, particularly in the near‐field. The average ground motion attenuation characteristics of dynamic rupture scenarios of comparable magnitudes and mean stress drop are independent of variations in source complexity, magnitude‐consistent and in good agreement with the latest regional empirical ground motion models. However, physics‐based ground motion variability changes considerably with fault‐distance and increases for unilateral compared to bilateral ruptures. Systematic variations in physics‐based near‐fault ground motions provide important insights into the mechanics and potential earthquake hazard of large strike‐slip fault systems, such as the HFFZ.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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