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https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-41
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-41
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Apr 2020

07 Apr 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Discrete element modeling of a subduction zone with a seafloor irregularity and its impact on the seismic cycle

Liqing Jiao1,2, Chung-Han Chan3,4, Luc Scholtès5, Aurélia Hubert-Ferrari6, Frédéric-Victor Donzé7, and Paul Tapponnier8 Liqing Jiao et al.
  • 1Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 2Université de Paris, Paris, France
  • 3Department of Earth Science, National Central University, Taiwan
  • 4Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 5Université de Lorraine, CNRS, Laboratoire GeoRessources, Nancy, France
  • 6Université de Liege, Department de Geography, Liege, Belgium
  • 7Université Grenoble Alpes, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Grenoble, France
  • 8Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China

Abstract. Seafloor irregularities influence rupture behavior along the subducting slab and in the overriding plate, thus affecting earthquake cycles. Whether seafloor irregularities increase the likelihood of large earthquakes in a subduction zone remains contested, partially due to focus put either on fault development or on rupture pattern. Here, we simulate a subducting slab with a seafloor irregularity and the resulting deformation pattern of the overriding plate using the discrete element method. Our simulations illustrate the rupture along three major fault systems: megathrust, splay and backthrust faults. Our results show different rupture dimensions of earthquake events varying from tens to ca. 140 km. Our results suggest that the recurrence interval of megathrust events with rupture length of ca. 100 km is ca. 140 years, which is overall comparable to the paleoseismic records at the Mentawai area of the Sumatran zone. We further propose the coseismic slip amounts decrease and interseismic slip amounts increase from the surface downwards gradually. We conclude that the presence of seafloor irregularities significantly affects rupture events along the slab as well as fault patterns in the overriding plate.

Liqing Jiao et al.

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Liqing Jiao et al.

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Latest update: 01 Dec 2020
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Short summary
Seafloor geometry plays an important role in earthquake behaviors in a tectonic subducting system. Here, we simulate a subducting slab with a seafloor irregularity to perform the resulting deformation pattern of the overriding plate and spatial and temporal patterns of the seismicity activity in the subducting system. Our model is overall comparable to paleoseismic records, matches seismicity patterns, and fulfils the domain definition of a subduction system.
Seafloor geometry plays an important role in earthquake behaviors in a tectonic subducting...
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