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https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-115
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-115
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Rupture-dependent breakdown energy in fault models with thermo-hydro-mechanical processes

Valère Lambert1 and Nadia Lapusta1,2 Valère Lambert and Nadia Lapusta
  • 1Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
  • 2Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Abstract. Substantial insight into earthquake source processes has resulted from considering frictional ruptures analogous to cohesive-zone shear cracks from fracture mechanics. This analogy holds for slip-weakening representations of fault friction that encapsulate the resistance to rupture propagation in the form of breakdown energy, analogous to fracture energy, prescribed in advance as if it were a material property of the fault interface. Here, we use numerical models of earthquake sequences with enhanced weakening due to thermal pressurization of pore fluids to show how accounting for thermo-hydro-mechanical processes during dynamic shear ruptures makes breakdown energy rupture-dependent. We find that local breakdown energy is neither a constant material property nor uniquely defined by the amount of slip attained during rupture, but depends on how that slip is achieved through the history of slip rate and dynamic stress changes during the rupture process. As a consequence, the frictional breakdown energy of the same location along the fault can vary significantly in different earthquake ruptures that pass through. These results suggest the need for re-examining the assumption of pre-determined frictional breakdown energy common in dynamic rupture modeling and for better understanding of the factors that control rupture dynamics in the presence of thermo-hydro-mechanical processes.

Valère Lambert and Nadia Lapusta

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Valère Lambert and Nadia Lapusta

Valère Lambert and Nadia Lapusta

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