Synthetic earthquake catalogs simulating seismic activity in the Corynth Gulf, Greece, fault system

Friday, 19 December 2014
Rodolfo Console1, Roberto Carluccio2, Eleftheria E Papadimitriou3 and Vassilis G Karakostas3, (1)Center of Integrated Geomorphology for the Mediterranean Area, Potenza, Italy, (2)INGV, Roma, Italy, (3)Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
The characteristic earthquake hypothesis is the basis of time-dependent modeling of earthquake recurrence on major faults, using the renewal process methodology. However, the characteristic earthquake hypothesis is not strongly supported by observational data. Few fault segments have long historical or paleoseismic records of individually dated ruptures, and when data and parameter uncertainties are allowed for, the form of the recurrence-distribution is difficult to establish. This is the case, for instance, of the Corinth gulf fault system, for which documents about strong earthquakes exist for at least two thousand years, but they can be considered complete for magnitudes > 6.0 only for the latest 300 years, during which only few characteristic earthquakes are reported for single fault segments.

The use of a physics-based earthquake simulator has allowed the production of catalogs lasting 100,000 years and containing more than 500,000 events of magnitudes > 4.0. The main features of our simulation algorithm are (1) the imposition of an average slip rate released by earthquakes to every single segment recognized in the investigated fault system, (2) the interaction between earthquake sources, (3) a self-organized earthquake magnitude distribution, and (4) the effect of minor earthquakes in redistributing stress.

The application of our simulation algorithm to the Corinth gulf fault system has shown realistic features in time, space and magnitude behavior of the seismicity. These features include long-term periodicity of strong earthquakes, short-term clustering of both strong and smaller events, and a realistic earthquake magnitude distribution departing from the Gutenberg-Richter distribution in the higher magnitude range.