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Title: Crack Models of Repeating Earthquakes Predict Observed Moment‐Recurrence Scaling

Small repeating earthquakes are thought to represent rupture of isolated asperities loaded by surrounding creep. The observed scaling between recurrence interval and seismic moment,TrM1/6, contrasts with expectation assuming constant stress drop and no aseismic slip (TrM1/3). Here we demonstrate that simple crack models of velocity‐weakening asperities in a velocity‐strengthening fault predict theM1/6scaling; however, the mechanism depends on asperity radius,R. For small asperities (, whereis the nucleation radius) numerical simulations with rate‐state friction show interseismic creep penetrating inward from the edge, and earthquakes nucleate in the center and rupture the entire asperity. Creep penetration accounts for ∼25% of the slip budget, the nucleation phase takes up a larger fraction of slip. Stress drop increases with increasingR; the lack of self‐similarity being due to the finite nucleation dimension. Forsimulations exhibit simple cycles with ruptures nucleating from the edge. Asperities withexhibit complex cycles of partial and full ruptures. HereTris explained by an energy criterion: full rupture requires that the energy release rate everywhere on the asperity at least equals the fracture energy, leading to the scalingTrM1/6. Remarkably, in spite of the variability in behavior with source dimension, the scaling ofTrwith stress drop Δτ, nucleation length and creep ratevplis the same across all regimes:. This supports the use of repeating earthquakes as creepmeters and provides a physical interpretation for the scaling observed in nature.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 476-503
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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