Dynamics of earthquake nucleation process represented by the Burridge-Knopoff model
Graduate School of Science, Osaka
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Received in final form: 10 August 2015
Published online: 21 September 2015
Dynamics of earthquake nucleation process is studied on the basis of the one-dimensional Burridge-Knopoff (BK) model obeying the rate- and state-dependent friction (RSF) law. We investigate the properties of the model at each stage of the nucleation process, including the quasi-static initial phase, the unstable acceleration phase and the high-speed rupture phase or a mainshock. Two kinds of nucleation lengths Lsc and Lc are identified and investigated. The nucleation length Lsc and the initial phase exist only for a weak frictional instability regime, while the nucleation length Lc and the acceleration phase exist for both weak and strong instability regimes. Both Lsc and Lc are found to be determined by the model parameters, the frictional weakening parameter and the elastic stiffness parameter, hardly dependent on the size of an ensuing mainshock. The sliding velocity is extremely slow in the initial phase up to Lsc, of order the pulling speed of the plate, while it reaches a detectable level at a certain stage of the acceleration phase. The continuum limits of the results are discussed. The continuum limit of the BK model lies in the weak frictional instability regime so that a mature homogeneous fault under the RSF law always accompanies the quasi-static nucleation process. Duration times of each stage of the nucleation process are examined. The relation to the elastic continuum model and implications to real seismicity are discussed.
Key words: Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2015