Earthquake cycle simulations with rate-and-state friction and linear and nonlinear viscoelasticity

Kali L. Allison, & Eric M. Dunham

Submitted August 15, 2016, SCEC Contribution #6972, 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #321

We have implemented a parallel code that simultaneously models both rate-and-state friction on a strike-slip fault and off-fault viscoelastic deformation throughout the earthquake cycle in 2D. Because we allow fault slip to evolve with a rate-and-state friction law and do not impose the depth of the brittle-to-ductile transition, we are able to address: the physical processes limiting the depth of large ruptures (with hazard implications); the degree of strain localization with depth; the relative partitioning of fault slip and viscous deformation in the brittle-to-ductile transition zone; and the relative contributions of afterslip and viscous flow to postseismic surface deformation.

The method uses a discretization that accommodates variable off-fault material properties, depth-dependent frictional properties, and linear and nonlinear viscoelastic rheologies. All phases of the earthquake cycle are modeled, allowing the model to spontaneously generate earthquakes, and to capture afterslip and postseismic viscous flow. We compare the effects of a linear Maxwell rheology, often used in geodetic models, with those of a nonlinear power law rheology, which laboratory data indicates more accurately represents the lower crust and upper mantle. The viscosity of the Maxwell rheology is set by power law rheological parameters with an assumed a geotherm and strain rate, producing a viscosity that exponentially decays with depth and is constant in time. In contrast, the power law rheology will evolve an effective viscosity that is a function of the temperature profile and the stress state, and therefore varies both spatially and temporally. We will also integrate the energy equation for the thermomechanical problem, capturing frictional heat generation on the fault and off-fault viscous shear heating, and allowing these in turn to alter the effective viscosity.

Key Words
simulation, earthquake cycle, viscoelasticity

Allison, K. L., & Dunham, E. M. (2016, 08). Earthquake cycle simulations with rate-and-state friction and linear and nonlinear viscoelasticity. Poster Presentation at 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Simulators