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Accrual of widespread rock damage from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes

Rodriguez Padilla, Alba M. and Oskin, Michael E. and Milliner, Christopher W. D. and Plesch, Andreas (2022) Accrual of widespread rock damage from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes. Nature Geoscience, 15 (3). pp. 222-226. ISSN 1752-0894. doi:10.1038/s41561-021-00888-w.

[img] PDF (Supplementary Figs. 1–17 and derivation for equations (1)–(13)) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1: Stacked profiles of fault-parallel shear strain from satellite cross-correlated imagery) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: Decay in aftershock density with fault-perpendicular distance for different depth intervals) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Maximum likelihood distribution of parameters in Eq. (1) for the distributions in Fig. 3 (main)) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 4: Distribution of fracture orientation with fault-perpendicular distance) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 5: Map view of fracture orientations at select locations) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 6: Strain and fracture density maps) - Supplemental Material
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Inelastic processes from earthquakes contribute to the formation of fault damage zones that constitute a permanent sink of strain energy, modify the elastic properties of the shallow crust and amplify near-field ground shaking. Constraints on the extent of inelastic deformation differ depending on the dataset and methodology used. Here we combine fracture, strain and aftershock maps from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes to reconcile the properties of damage zones across different spatial scales and resolutions. The decay of inelastic deformation with distance from the fault is well described by an inverse power law, extends beyond 20 km from the faults and is insensitive to lithology and slip magnitude. The damage decay is continuous without breaks in scaling, suggesting that a single mechanism dominates yielding. On the basis of our fracture density distribution, we predict an average reduction in shear rigidity of about 20% in bedrock and 40% in alluvium immediately adjacent to the fault, declining to less than 1% at 100 m. Our observations reveal how macroscopic fracturing generates intense near-fault damage and that widespread damage accrues regionally over multiple earthquake cycles.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access ItemDatasets UAV imagery UAV imagery photography and lidar data ItemRidgecrest QTM earthquake catalogue ItemSCSN catalogue ItemField- and geodesy-based rupture map ItemShapefile containing high-resolution fracture maps Item3D representations of fault planes
Rodriguez Padilla, Alba M.0000-0003-0696-2190
Oskin, Michael E.0000-0002-6631-5326
Milliner, Christopher W. D.0000-0002-3790-595X
Additional Information:© 2022 Nature Publishing Group. Received 19 May 2021; Accepted 16 December 2021; Published 24 February 2022. We thank the UCSC seismo lab and Y. Ben-Zion for helpful discussion. This research was supported by the Southern California Earthquake Center (contribution no. 10995). SCEC is funded by NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1600087 and USGS Cooperative Agreement G17AC00047. A.M.R.P is supported by NASA FINESST fellowship 20-EARTH20-0313. Data availability: The datasets generated in this manuscript are available for download from All datasets used in this manuscript are open access. The foreshock UAV imagery from ref. 28 is available from The mainshock UAV imagery is available from The aerial photography and lidar data from ref. 25 are available from The Ridgecrest QTM earthquake catalogue is available from The SCSN catalogue is available from The field- and geodesy-based rupture map from ref. 26 is available from The shapefile containing the high-resolution fracture maps from ref. 27 is available from The 3D representations of the fault planes from ref. 30 are available from the SCEC community fault model: Code availability: The code used to fit and analyse the data is available from the corresponding author upon request. Contributions: A.M.R.P mapped fractures from lidar data and prepared and processed the data for the damage decay analysis. M.E.O. and A.M.R.P computed the modulus decrease estimates. C.W.D.M. computed strain and generated the strain profiles. A.P. measured the distance between the aftershocks and the fault planes. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Geoscience thanks Christopher Scholz and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Primary Handling Editor: Rebecca Neely in collaboration with the Nature Geoscience team.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
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Subject Keywords:Natural hazards; Seismology; Tectonics
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Southern California Earthquake Center10995
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220224-752210100
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Official Citation:Rodriguez Padilla, A.M., Oskin, M.E., Milliner, C.W.D. et al. Accrual of widespread rock damage from the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes. Nat. Geosci. 15, 222–226 (2022).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113574
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Feb 2022 23:13
Last Modified:17 Mar 2022 16:23

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