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The role of three-dimensional fault interactions in creating complex seismic sequences and power-law magnitude distributions
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  • Yifan Yin,
  • Percy Galvez,
  • Elias Rafn Heimisson,
  • Stefan Wiemer
Yifan Yin
Swiss Seismological Service

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Percy Galvez
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
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Elias Rafn Heimisson
ETH Zurich
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Stefan Wiemer
ETH Zurich
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A physics-based earthquake simulator should reproduce first-order empirical power-law behaviors of magnitudes and clustering. However, sequences exhibiting these laws have only been produced in discrete and low-dimension continuum simulations. We show that the same emergence also occurs in 3-D continuum simulations. Our model approximates a strike-slip fault system slipping under rate-and-state friction. We produce spatiotemporally clustered earthquake sequences exhibiting characteristic Gutenberg-Richter scaling as well as empirical inter-event time distribution. With fault interaction, partial ruptures emerge when seismogenic width W over characteristic nucleation length Lāˆž is larger than 16.24, but none occurs without fault interaction. The mainshock recurrence times of individual faults remain quasi-periodic and fit a Brownian passage time distribution. The system mainshock recurrence time has a short-term Omori-type decay, indicating a 22% chance of mainshock clustering. These results show that physics-based multi-cycle models adequately reflect observed statistical signatures and show practical potential for long-term hazard assessment and medium-term forecasting.
Mar 2023Published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters volume 606 on pages 118056. 10.1016/j.epsl.2023.118056