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Published February 6, 1998 | public
Journal Article

Frictional Melting During the Rupture of the 1994 Bolivian Earthquake


The source parameters of the 1994 Bolivian earthquake (magnitude M_w = 8.3) suggest that the maximum seismic efficiency η was 0.036 and the minimum frictional stress was 550 bars. Thus, the source process was dissipative, which is consistent with the observed slow rupture speed, only 20% of the localS-wave velocity. The amount of nonradiated energy produced during the Bolivian rupture was comparable to, or larger than, the thermal energy of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and was sufficient to have melted a layer as thick as 31 centimeters. Once rupture was initiated, melting could occur, which reduces friction and promotes fault slip.

Additional Information

© 1998 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 30 September 1997; accepted 6 January 1997. We thank J. Rice, A. Rosakis, L. Ruff, H. Houston, and A. Ruben for helpful comments.

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