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Modeling of periodic great earthquakes on the San Andreas fault: Effects of nonlinear crustal rheologyWe analyze the cycle of great earthquakes along the San Andreas fault with a finite element numerical model of deformation in a crust with a nonlinear viscoelastic rheology. The viscous component of deformation has an effective viscosity that depends exponentially on the inverse absolute temperature and nonlinearity on the shear stress; the elastic deformation is linear. Crustal thickness and temperature are constrained by seismic and heat flow data for California. The models are for anti plane strain in a 25-km-thick crustal layer having a very long, vertical strike-slip fault; the crustal block extends 250 km to either side of the fault. During the earthquake cycle that lasts 160 years, a constant plate velocity v(sub p)/2 = 17.5 mm yr is applied to the base of the crust and to the vertical end of the crustal block 250 km away from the fault. The upper half of the fault is locked during the interseismic period, while its lower half slips at the constant plate velocity. The locked part of the fault is moved abruptly 2.8 m every 160 years to simulate great earthquakes. The results are sensitive to crustal rheology. Models with quartzite-like rheology display profound transient stages in the velocity, displacement, and stress fields. The predicted transient zone extends about 3-4 times the crustal thickness on each side of the fault, significantly wider than the zone of deformation in elastic models. Models with diabase-like rheology behave similarly to elastic models and exhibit no transient stages. The model predictions are compared with geodetic observations of fault-parallel velocities in northern and central California and local rates of shear strain along the San Andreas fault. The observations are best fit by models which are 10-100 times less viscous than a quartzite-like rheology. Since the lower crust in California is composed of intermediate to mafic rocks, the present result suggests that the in situ viscosity of the crustal rock is orders of magnitude less the rock viscosity determined in the laboratory.
Document ID
19950039717
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Authors
Reches, Ze'ev (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Schubert, Gerald (University of California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Anderson, Charles (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
November 10, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 99
Issue: B11
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
GEOPHYSICS
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAGW-2646
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other