Foreshocks and Aftershocks in Simple Earthquake Models

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:30 AM
Kristy French Tiampo, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, William Klein, Boston Univ, Boston, MA, United States, Rachele Dominguez, Randolph-Macon College, Department of Physics, Ashland, VA, United States, Javad Kazemian, University of Alberta, Department of Physics, Edmonton, AB, Canada and Pablo J González, University of Leeds, Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics. School of Earth and Environment, Leeds, United Kingdom
Natural earthquake fault systems are highly heterogeneous in space; inhomogeneities occur because the earth is made of a variety of materials of different strengths and dissipate stress differently. Because the spatial arrangement of these materials is dependent on the geologic history, the distribution of these various materials can be quite complex and occur over a wide range of length scales. Despite their inhomogeneous nature, real faults are often modeled as spatially homogeneous systems. Here we present a simple earthquake fault model based on the Olami-Feder-Christensen (OFC) and Rundle-Jackson-Brown (RJB) cellular automata models with long-range interactions that incorporates a fixed percentage of stronger sites, or ‘asperity cells’, into the lattice. These asperity cells are significantly stronger than the surrounding lattice sites but eventually rupture when the applied stress reaches their higher threshold stress. The introduction of these spatial heterogeneities results in temporal clustering in the model that mimics those seen in natural fault systems. We observe sequences of activity that start with a gradually accelerating number of larger events (foreshocks) prior to a mainshock that is followed by a tail of decreasing activity (aftershocks). These recurrent large events occur at regular intervals, as is often observed in historic seismicity, and the time between events and their magnitude are a function of the stress dissipation parameter. The relative length of the foreshock to aftershock sequence depends on the amount of stress dissipation in the system, resulting in relatively long aftershock sequences when the stress dissipation is large versus long foreshock sequences when the stress dissipation is weak. This work provides further evidence that the spatial and temporal patterns observed in natural seismicity are strongly influenced by the underlying physical properties and are not solely the result of a simple cascade mechanism. We find that the scaling depends not only on the amount of damage, but also on the spatial distribution of that damage (Dominguez et al., 2011; Kazemian et al., 2014). These results are compared to natural earthquake sequences from around the world.