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Complex rupture dynamics on an immature fault during the 2020 Mw 6.8 Elazığ earthquake, Turkey

Frantisek Gallovic, Jiri Zahradnik, Vladimír Plicka, Efthimios Sokos, Christos Evangelidis, Ioannis Fountoulakis, & Fatih Turhan

Published October 30, 2020, SCEC Contribution #11756

Physical laws governing friction on shallow faults in the Earth and spatial heterogeneity of parameters are critical to our understanding of earthquake physics and the assessment of earthquake hazards. Here we use a laboratory-derived fault-friction law and high-quality strong-motion seismic recordings of the 2020 Elazığ earthquake, Turkey, to reveal the complex rupture dynamics. We discover an initial Mw 5.8 rupture stage and explain how cascading behavior of the event, involving at least three episodes, each of M > 6, caused it to evolve into a large earthquake, contrarily to other M5+ events on this part of the East Anatolian Fault. Although the dynamic stress transfer during the rupture did not overcome the strength of the uppermost ~5 kilometers, surface ruptures during future earthquakes cannot be ruled out. We foresee that future, routine dynamic inversions will improve understanding of earthquake rupture parameters, an essential component of modern, physics-based earthquake hazard assessment.

Gallovic, F., Zahradnik, J., Plicka, V., Sokos, E., Evangelidis, C., Fountoulakis, I., & Turhan, F. (2020). Complex rupture dynamics on an immature fault during the 2020 Mw 6.8 Elazığ earthquake, Turkey. Communications Earth & Environment, 1(1). doi: 10.1038/s43247-020-00038-x.