Variability of seismic source spectra, estimated stress drop, and radiated energy, derived fromcohesive-zonemodels of symmetrical and asymmetrical circular and elliptical ruptures

TitleVariability of seismic source spectra, estimated stress drop, and radiated energy, derived fromcohesive-zonemodels of symmetrical and asymmetrical circular and elliptical ruptures
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKaneko Y, Shearer PM
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
Volume120
Pagination1053-1079
Date Published2015/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9313
Accession NumberWOS:000351466000025
Keywordsaftershock; california; cohesive-zone model; corner; earthquake sequence; earthquake stress drop; fault; frequency; ground motion; inversion; models; radiated energy; seismic source spectra; shear cracks; source parameters; supershear rupture; velocity
Abstract

Large variability of earthquake stress drops and scaled energy has been commonly reported in the literature, but it is difficult to assess how much of this variability is caused by underlying physical source processes rather than simply observational uncertainties. Here we examine a variety of dynamically realistic rupture scenarios for circular and elliptical faults and investigate to what extent the variability in seismically estimated stress drops and scaled energy comes from differences in source geometry, rupture directivity, and rupture speeds. We numerically simulate earthquake source scenarios using a cohesive-zone model with the small-scale yielding limit, where the solution approaches a singular crack model with spontaneous healing of slip. Compared to symmetrical circular source models, asymmetrical models result in larger variability of estimated corner frequencies and scaled energy over the focal sphere. The general behavior of the spherical averages of corner frequencies and scaled energy in the subshear regime extends to the supershear regime, although shear Mach waves generated by the propagation of supershear rupture lead to much higher corner frequency and scaled energy estimates locally. Our results suggest that at least a factor of 2 difference in the spherical average of corner frequencies is expected in observational studies simply from variability in source characteristics almost independent of the actual stress drops, translating into a factor of 8 difference in estimated stress drops. Furthermore, radiation efficiency estimates derived from observed seismic spectra should not be directly interpreted as describing rupture properties unless there are independent constraints on rupture speed and geometry.

DOI10.1002/2014jb011642
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