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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  29 Sep 2020

29 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Cross-Diffusion Waves as a trigger for multiscale, multiphysics Instabilities: Application to earthquakes

Klaus Regenauer-Lieb1, Manman Hu2, Christoph Schrank3, Xiao Chen1, Santiago Peña Clavijo1, Ulrich Kelka4, Ali Karrech5, Oliver Gaede3, Tomasz Blach1, Hamid Roshan1, Antoine B. Jacquey6, and Piotr Szymczak7 Klaus Regenauer-Lieb et al.
  • 1School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, UNSW, Sydney, NSW 2052 Australia
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 3Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, 4001, Australia
  • 4CSIRO, Deep Earth Imaging FSP, Kensington, Australia
  • 5School of Engineering, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
  • 6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 7Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Warsawa, Warszawa, Poland

Abstract. Theoretical approaches to earthquake instabilities propose shear-dominated instabilities as a source mechanism. Here we take a fresh look at the role of possible volumetric instabilities preceding a shear instability. We investigate the phenomena that may prepare earthquake instabilities using the coupling of Thermo-Hydro-Mechano-Chemical reaction-diffusion equations in a THMC diffusion matrix. We show that the off-diagonal cross-diffusivities can give rise to a new class of waves known as cross-diffusion waves. Their unique property is that for critical conditions cross-diffusion waves can funnel wave energy into a quasi-stationary wave focus from large to small-scale. The equivalent extreme event in ocean waves and optical fibres leads to the appearance of rogue waves and high energy pulses of light in lasers. In the context of hydromechanical coupling, a rogue wave would appear as a sudden fluid pressure spike on the future fault plane. This is here interpreted as a trigger for the ultimate (shear) seismic moment release.

Klaus Regenauer-Lieb et al.

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Klaus Regenauer-Lieb et al.

Klaus Regenauer-Lieb et al.


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Latest update: 24 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper presents a trans-disciplinary approach bridging the gap between observations of instabilities from the molecular scale to the very large scale. We show that all scales communicate via propagation of volumetric deformation waves. Similar phenomena are encountered in quantum optics where wave collisions can release sporadic bursts of light. Ocean waves show a similar phenomenon of rogue waves that seem to come from nowhere. This mechanism is proposed to be the trigger for earthquakes.
This paper presents a trans-disciplinary approach bridging the gap between observations of...