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  1. Abstract

    There is a growing recognition that subsurface fluid injection can produce not only earthquakes, but also aseismic slip on faults. A major challenge in understanding interactions between injection-related aseismic and seismic slip on faults is identifying aseismic slip on the field scale, given that most monitored fields are only equipped with seismic arrays. We present a modeling workflow for evaluating the possibility of aseismic slip, given observational constraints on the spatial-temporal distribution of microseismicity, injection rate, and wellhead pressure. Our numerical model simultaneously simulates discrete off-fault microseismic events and aseismic slip on a main fault during fluid injection. We apply the workflow to the 2012 Enhanced Geothermal System injection episode at Cooper Basin, Australia, which aimed to stimulate a water-saturated granitic reservoir containing a highly permeable ($$k = 10^{-13} - 10^{-12}$$k=10-13-10-12$$\hbox {m}{^2}$$m2) fault zone. We find that aseismic slip likely contributed to half of the total moment release. In addition, fault weakening from pore pressure changes, not elastic stress transfer from aseismic slip, induces the majority of observed microseismic events, given the inferred stress state. We derive a theoretical model to better estimate the time-dependent spatial extent of seismicity triggered by increases in pore pressure. To our knowledge, this is the first time injection-induced aseismic slip in a granitic reservoir has been inferred, suggesting that aseismic slip could be widespread across a range of lithologies.

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    Tsunami generation by offshore earthquakes is a problem of scientific interest and practical relevance, and one that requires numerical modelling for data interpretation and hazard assessment. Most numerical models utilize two-step methods with one-way coupling between separate earthquake and tsunami models, based on approximations that might limit the applicability and accuracy of the resulting solution. In particular, standard methods focus exclusively on tsunami wave modelling, neglecting larger amplitude ocean acoustic and seismic waves that are superimposed on tsunami waves in the source region. In this study, we compare four earthquake-tsunami modelling methods. We identify dimensionless parameters to quantitatively approximate dominant wave modes in the earthquake-tsunami source region, highlighting how the method assumptions affect the results and discuss which methods are appropriate for various applications such as interpretation of data from offshore instruments in the source region. Most methods couple a 3-D solid earth model, which provides the seismic wavefield or at least the static elastic displacements, with a 2-D depth-averaged shallow water tsunami model. Assuming the ocean is incompressible and tsunami propagation is negligible over the earthquake duration leads to the instantaneous source method, which equates the static earthquake seafloor uplift with the initial tsunami sea surface height. For longer duration earthquakes, it is appropriate to follow the time-dependent source method, which uses time-dependent earthquake seafloor velocity as a forcing term in the tsunami mass balance. Neither method captures ocean acoustic or seismic waves, motivating more advanced methods that capture the full wavefield. The superposition method of Saito et al. solves the 3-D elastic and acoustic equations to model the seismic wavefield and response of a compressible ocean without gravity. Then, changes in sea surface height from the zero-gravity solution are used as a forcing term in a separate tsunami simulation, typically run with a shallow water solver. A superposition of the earthquake and tsunami solutions provides an approximation to the complete wavefield. This method is algorithmically a two-step method. The complete wavefield is captured in the fully coupled method, which utilizes a coupled solid Earth and compressible ocean model with gravity. The fully coupled method, recently incorporated into the 3-D open-source code SeisSol, simultaneously solves earthquake rupture, seismic waves and ocean response (including gravity). We show that the superposition method emerges as an approximation to the fully coupled method subject to often well-justified assumptions. Furthermore, using the fully coupled method, we examine how the source spectrum and ocean depth influence the expression of oceanic Rayleigh waves. Understanding the range of validity of each method, as well as its computational expense, facilitates the selection of modelling methods for the accurate assessment of earthquake and tsunami hazards and the interpretation of data from offshore instruments.

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  3. Abstract

    Fluids influence fault zone strength and the occurrence of earthquakes, slow slip events, and aseismic slip. We introduce an earthquake sequence model with fault zone fluid transport, accounting for elastic, viscous, and plastic porosity evolution, with permeability having a power‐law dependence on porosity. Fluids, sourced at a constant rate below the seismogenic zone, ascend along the fault. While the modeling is done for a vertical strike‐slip fault with 2D antiplane shear deformation, the general behavior and processes are anticipated to apply also to subduction zones. The model produces large earthquakes in the seismogenic zone, whose recurrence interval is controlled in part by compaction‐driven pressurization and weakening. The model also produces a complex sequence of slow slip events (SSEs) beneath the seismogenic zone. The SSEs are initiated by compaction‐driven pressurization and weakening and stalled by dilatant suctions. Modeled SSE sequences include long‐term events lasting from a few months to years and very rapid short‐term events lasting for only a few days; slip is ∼1–10 cm. Despite ∼1–10 MPa pore pressure changes, porosity and permeability changes are small and hence fluid flux is relatively constant except in the immediate vicinity of slip fronts. This contrasts with alternative fault valving models that feature much larger changes in permeability from the evolution of pore connectivity. Our model demonstrates the important role that compaction and dilatancy have on fluid pressure and fault slip, with possible relevance to slow slip events in subduction zones and elsewhere.

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  4. ABSTRACT Numerical modeling of earthquake dynamics and derived insight for seismic hazard relies on credible, reproducible model results. The sequences of earthquakes and aseismic slip (SEAS) initiative has set out to facilitate community code comparisons, and verify and advance the next generation of physics-based earthquake models that reproduce all phases of the seismic cycle. With the goal of advancing SEAS models to robustly incorporate physical and geometrical complexities, here we present code comparison results from two new benchmark problems: BP1-FD considers full elastodynamic effects, and BP3-QD considers dipping fault geometries. Seven and eight modeling groups participated in BP1-FD and BP3-QD, respectively, allowing us to explore these physical ingredients across multiple codes and better understand associated numerical considerations. With new comparison metrics, we find that numerical resolution and computational domain size are critical parameters to obtain matching results. Codes for BP1-FD implement different criteria for switching between quasi-static and dynamic solvers, which require tuning to obtain matching results. In BP3-QD, proper remote boundary conditions consistent with specified rigid body translation are required to obtain matching surface displacements. With these numerical and mathematical issues resolved, we obtain excellent quantitative agreements among codes in earthquake interevent times, event moments, and coseismic slip, with reasonable agreements made in peak slip rates and rupture arrival time. We find that including full inertial effects generates events with larger slip rates and rupture speeds compared to the quasi-dynamic counterpart. For BP3-QD, both dip angle and sense of motion (thrust versus normal faulting) alter ground motion on the hanging and foot walls, and influence event patterns, with some sequences exhibiting similar-size characteristic earthquakes, and others exhibiting different-size events. These findings underscore the importance of considering full elastodynamics and nonvertical dip angles in SEAS models, as both influence short- and long-term earthquake behavior and are relevant to seismic hazard. 
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  5. Abstract

    Explosive volcanic eruptions radiate seismic waves as a consequence of pressure and shear traction changes within the conduit/chamber system. Kinematic source inversions utilize these waves to determine equivalent seismic force and moment tensor sources, but relation to eruptive processes is often ambiguous and nonunique. In this work, we provide an alternative, forward modeling approach to calculate moment tensor and force equivalents of a model of eruptive conduit flow and chamber depressurization. We explain the equivalence of two seismic force descriptions, the first in terms of traction changes on conduit/chamber walls, and the second in terms of changes in magma momentum, weight, and momentum transfer to the atmosphere. Eruption onset is marked by a downward seismic force, associated with loss of restraining shear tractions from fragmentation. This is followed by a much larger upward seismic force from upward drag of ascending magma and reduction of magma weight remaining in the conduit/chamber system. The static force is upward, arising from weight reduction. We calculate synthetic seismograms to examine the expression of eruptive processes at different receiver distances. Filtering these synthetics to the frequency band typically resolved by broadband seismometers produces waveforms similar to very long period seismic events observed in strombolian and vulcanian eruptions. However, filtering heavily distorts waveforms, accentuating processes in early, unsteady parts of eruptions and eliminating information about longer (ultra long period time scale depressurization and weight changes that dominate unfiltered seismograms. Our workflow can be utilized to directly and quantitatively connect eruption models with seismic observations.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Infrasound observations are commonly used to constrain properties of subaerial volcanic eruptions. In order to better interpret infrasound observations, however, there is a need to better understand the relationship between eruption properties and sound generation. Here we perform two-dimensional computational aeroacoustic simulations where we solve the compressible Navier-Stokes equations with a large-eddy simulation approximation. We simulate idealized impulsive volcanic eruptions where the exit velocity is specified and the eruption is pressure-balanced with the atmosphere. Our nonlinear simulation results are compared with the commonly used analytical linear acoustics model of a compact monopole source radiating acoustic waves isotropically in a half space. The monopole source model matches the simulations for low exit velocities (M < 0.3 where M is the Mach number); however, the two solutions diverge as the exit velocity increases with the simulations developing lower peak amplitude and more rapid onset. For high exit velocities (M>0.8) the radiation pattern becomes anisotropic, with stronger infrasound signals recorded above the vent than on Earth's surface (50% greater peak amplitude for an eruption with M=0.95) and interpreting ground-based infrasound observations with the monopole source model can result in an underestimation of the erupted volume. We examine nonlinear effects and show that nonlinear effects during propagation are relatively minor. Instead, the dominant nonlinear effect is sound generation by the complex flow structure that develops above the vent. This work demonstrates the need to consider anisotropic radiation patterns and near-vent fluid flow when interpreting infrasound observations, particularly for eruptions with sonic or supersonic exit velocities. 
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  7. Abstract

    Inversions of InSAR ground deformation in the Delaware Basin have revealed an aseismic slip on semi‐optimally oriented normal faults located close to disposal wells. The slip, occurring over 3–5 years, extends approximately 1 km down‐dip, over 10 km along strike, and reaches 25 cm. We develop and calibrate 2D and pseudo‐3D coupled pore pressure diffusion and rate‐state models with velocity‐strengthening friction tailored to this unique height‐bounded fault geometry. Pressure diffusion is limited to a high‐permeability fault damage zone, and the net influx of fluid is adjusted to match the observed slip. A 1–2 MPa pressure increase initiates slip, with ∼5 MPa additional pressure increase required to produce ∼20 cm slip. Most slip occurs at approximately constant friction. Fault zone permeability must exceed ∼10−13 m2to match the along‐strike extent of slip. Models of the type developed here can be used to operationally manage injection‐induced aseismic slip.

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  8. Abstract

    Fault-zone fluids control effective normal stress and fault strength. While most earthquake models assume a fixed pore fluid pressure distribution, geologists have documented fault valving behavior, that is, cyclic changes in pressure and unsteady fluid migration along faults. Here we quantify fault valving through 2-D antiplane shear simulations of earthquake sequences on a strike-slip fault with rate-and-state friction, upward Darcy flow along a permeable fault zone, and permeability evolution. Fluid overpressure develops during the interseismic period, when healing/sealing reduces fault permeability, and is released after earthquakes enhance permeability. Coupling between fluid flow, permeability and pressure evolution, and slip produces fluid-driven aseismic slip near the base of the seismogenic zone and earthquake swarms within the seismogenic zone, as ascending fluids pressurize and weaken the fault. This model might explain observations of late interseismic fault unlocking, slow slip and creep transients, swarm seismicity, and rapid pressure/stress transmission in induced seismicity sequences.

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  9. Abstract

    Inflationary deformation and very long period (VLP) earthquakes frequently accompany basaltic caldera collapses, yet current interpretations do not reflect physically consistent mechanisms. We present a lumped parameter model accounting for caldera block/magma momentum change, magma chamber pressurization, and ring fault (assumed vertical) shear stress drop. Pressurization of the underlying magma chamber is represented by a tri‐axial expansion source, and the combined caldera block/magma momentum change by a vertical single force. The model is applied to Kīlauea 2018 caldera collapse events, accurately predicting near field static/dynamic ground motions. In addition to the tri‐axial expansion source, the single force contributes significantly to the VLP waveforms. For an average collapse event with fully developed ring fault, Bayesian inversion constrains ring fault stress drop to ∼0.4 MPa and the pressure increase to ∼1.9 MPa. That the predictions fit both geodetic and seismic observations confirms that the model captures the dominant caldera collapse mechanisms.

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