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Initiation and arrest of earthquake ruptures due to elongated overstressed regions

Galis, Martin and Ampuero, Jean-Paul and Mai, P. Martin and Kristek, Jozef (2019) Initiation and arrest of earthquake ruptures due to elongated overstressed regions. Geophysical Journal International, 217 (3). pp. 1783-1797. ISSN 0956-540X.

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The initiation of natural and induced earthquakes is promoted in fault areas where shear stress is close to fault strength. In many real-world situations, these overstressed fault areas (or ‘asperities’) are very elongated; for example, in the case of a fault intersecting a reservoir subject to fluid-injection, or the stress concentration along the bottom of a seismogenic zone induced by deep fault creep. Theoretical estimates of the minimum overstressed asperity size leading to runaway rupture and of the final size of self-arrested ruptures are only available for 2-D problems and for 3-D problems with an asperity aspect ratio close to one. In this study, we determine how the nucleation of ruptures on elongated asperities, and their ensuing arrest, depends on the size and aspect ratio of the asperity and on the background stress. Based on a systematic set of 3-D dynamic rupture simulations assuming linear slip-weakening friction, we find that if the shortest asperity side is smaller than the 2-D critical length, the problem effectively reduces to a 2-D problem in which rupture nucleation and arrest are controlled by the shortest length of the asperity. Otherwise, nucleation and rupture arrest are controlled by the asperity area, with a minor exception: for asperities with shortest side slightly larger than the 2-D critical length, arrested ruptures are smaller than predicted by the asperity area. The fact that rupture arrest is dominantly controlled by area, even for elongated asperities, corroborates the finding that observed maximum magnitudes of earthquakes induced by fluid injection are consistent with the theoretical relation between the magnitude of the largest self-arrested rupture and the injected volume. In the context of induced seismicity, our simulations provide plausible scenarios that could be either favourable or challenging for traffic light systems and provide mechanical insights into the conditions leading to these situations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Galis, Martin0000-0002-5375-7061
Ampuero, Jean-Paul0000-0002-4827-7987
Mai, P. Martin0000-0002-9744-4964
Kristek, Jozef0000-0002-2332-541X
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2019 February 13. Received 2019 February 8; in original form 2018 October 8; Published: 17 February 2019. The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), grant BAS/1/1339-01-01. MG and JK acknowledge partial support by the Slovak Foundation Grant VEGA-2/0188/15. JPA acknowledges partial funding from NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij) and from the French government through the UCA-JEDI Investments in the Future project managed by the National Research Agency (ANR) with the reference number ANR-15-IDEX-01. We appreciate reviews by two anonymous reviewers that helped us to improve the manuscript.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)BAS/1/1339-01-01
Slovak FoundationVEGA-2/0188/15
Nederlandse Aardolie MaatschappijUNSPECIFIED
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-15-IDEX-01
Subject Keywords:Numerical modelling; Earthquake dynamics; Induced seismicity
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181102-083459055
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Martin Galis, Jean-Paul Ampuero, P Martin Mai, Jozef Kristek, Initiation and arrest of earthquake ruptures due to elongated overstressed regions, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 217, Issue 3, June 2019, Pages 1783–1797,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90603
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Nov 2018 16:34
Last Modified:14 Apr 2021 00:50

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