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A mechanism for preseismic steady rupture fronts observed in laboratory experiments

Kaneko, Y. and Ampuero, J.-P. (2011) A mechanism for preseismic steady rupture fronts observed in laboratory experiments. Geophysical Research Letters, 38 (21). Art. No. L21307. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2011GL049953.

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It has been shown that the onset of frictional instability is characterized by a transition from stable, quasi-static rupture growth to unstable, inertially-controlled high-speed rupture. In particular, slow rupture fronts propagating at a steady speed V_(slow) of the order of 5% of the S-wave speed have been observed prior to the onset of dynamic rupture in recent fault-friction laboratory experiments. However, the precise mechanism governing this V_(slow) stage is unknown. Here we reproduce this phenomenon in numerical simulations of earthquake sequences that incorporate laboratory-derived rate-and-state friction laws. Our simulations show that the V_(slow) stage originates from a stress concentration inherited from the coalescence of interseismic slow creep fronts. Its occurrence is limited to a narrow range of the parameter space but is found in simulations with two commonly-used state-variable evolution laws in the rate-and-state formulation. The sensitivity of the speed V_(slow) to the model parameters suggests that the propagation speed V_(slow) reported in laboratory experiments may also be sensitive to parameters of friction and stress conditions. Our results imply that time and space dimensions associated with the propagation of V_(slow) on natural faults can be as much as a few seconds and several hundred meters, respectively. Hence the detection of such preseismic signals may be possible with near-field high-resolution observations.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Ampuero, J.-P.0000-0002-4827-7987
Additional Information:© 2011 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 10 October 2011; accepted 11 October 2011; published 10 November 2011. The authors thank Stefan Nielsen for sharing the results of his laboratory experiments. The reviews by Maria Elina Belardinelli and an anonymous reviewer helped us improve the manuscript. This study was supported by NSF (grant EAR‐1015698) and SCEC (funded by NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR‐0106924 and USGS Cooperative Agreement 02HQAG0008). This is SCEC contribution number 1511. [26] The Editor thanks Maria Elina Belardinelli and an anonymous reviewer for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:earthquake nucleation; earthquake precursors; numerical simulations; rate and state friction; slow steady propagation fronts
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)1511
Issue or Number:21
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111213-144536891
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Official Citation:Kaneko, Y., and J.‐P. Ampuero (2011), A mechanism for preseismic steady rupture fronts observed in laboratory experiments, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L21307, doi:10.1029/2011GL049953.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:28456
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:14 Dec 2011 17:47
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:57

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