Exciting news! We're transitioning to the Statewide California Earthquake Center. Our new website is under construction, but we'll continue using this website for SCEC business in the meantime. We're also archiving the Southern Center site to preserve its rich history. A new and improved platform is coming soon!

Under the Hood of the Earthquake Machine: Towards Predictive Modeling of the Seismic Cycle

Sylvain D. Barbot, Nadia Lapusta, & Jean-Philippe Avouac

Published May 11, 2012, SCEC Contribution #1585

Advances in observational, laboratory, and modeling techniques provide increasingly rich findings about the earthquake source behavior on various spatial and temporal scales. Now the challenge is to develop unifying models capable of integrating a wide range of observations using realistic fault physics. Here, we build the first fully dynamic model of a fault segment that quantitatively reproduces its behavior over the entire earthquake cycle. In the model, a rate-and-state fault is tuned to the wealth of data for the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas Fault. The model succeeds in reproducing a realistic earthquake sequence of irregular Mw 6 mainshocks - including events similar to the ones in 1966 and 2004 - and provides an excellent match to the detailed inter-, co-, and post-seismic observations during the most recent earthquake cycle. Such calibrated physical models may be used in the future to assess seismic hazard and forecast seismicity response to perturbations of natural or anthropogenic origins.

Barbot, S. D., Lapusta, N., & Avouac, J. (2012). Under the Hood of the Earthquake Machine: Towards Predictive Modeling of the Seismic Cycle. Science, 336(6082), 707-710. doi: 10.1126/science.1218796.