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Inelastic material response in multi-physics earthquake rupture simulations
Inelastic material response in multi-physics earthquake rupture simulations
Dynamic rupture models are able to shed light on earthquake source dynamics where direct observations are rare or non-existent. These multi-physics simulations incorporate earthquake rupture along a fault governed by frictional constitutive laws, which is coupled to seismic wave propagation described by the linear elastic wave equation. To accurately model the earthquake process, numerical models need to include realistic material properties such as the ability of rocks to deform plastically. This dissertation extends the Arbitrary High Order Derivative Discontinuous Galerkin (ADER-DG) framework of the dynamic rupture software SeisSol to account for non-linear off-fault plasticity. The impact of plasticity on rupture dynamics and the emitted seismic wave field is investigated in realistic simulations motivated by past earthquakes on geometrically complex faults. We first present the implementation of off-fault plasticity, which is verified in community benchmark problems and by three-dimensional numerical refinement studies. Motivated by the high efficiency of the implementation, we present a large-scale simulation of earthquake rupture along the segmented fault system of the 1992 Landers earthquake including plasticity. The results indicate that spatio-temporal rupture transfers are altered by plastic energy absorption, correlating with locations of geometrical fault complexity. In a next step, the model of the 1992 Landers earthquake is further extended to account for a new degree of realism among dynamic rupture models by incorporating high-resolution topography, 3D velocity structure, and viscoelastic attenuation in addition to off-fault plasticity. The simulation reproduces a broad range of observations including moment release rate, seismic waveform characteristics, mapped off-fault deformation patterns, and peak ground motions. We find that plasticity reduces the directivity effect and the spatial variability of peak ground velocities in comparison to the purely elastic simulation. In addition to this continental strike-slip earthquake, we investigate the effect of off-fault plasticity on source dynamics and seafloor deformation in a 3D subduction zone model of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. Simulated seafloor displacements are drastically altered by inelastic processes within the entire accretionary wedge, depending on fault- strike and the applied regional stress field, which potentially affects the tsunamigenesis. Finally, since these application scenarios show that rupture dynamics and the occurrence of off-fault plasticity are highly influenced by the assumed initial stresses and fault geometry, we propose a workflow to constrain dynamic rupture initial conditions with plasticity by long-term seismic cycling modelling. The exploited seismo-thermo-mechanical model provides a self-consistent slab geometry as well as initial stress and strength conditions that evolve according to the tectonic stress build-up and the temperature-dependent strength of the rocks. The geomechanically constrained subduction zone model suggests that the accretionary wedge is very close to plastic failure such that the occurrence of plastic strain hampers rupture to the trench, but locally increases the vertical seafloor uplift.
earthquake simulations, plastic deformation, numerical modelling, dynamic rupture
Wollherr, Stephanie
2018
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Wollherr, Stephanie (2018): Inelastic material response in multi-physics earthquake rupture simulations. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Geosciences
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Abstract

Dynamic rupture models are able to shed light on earthquake source dynamics where direct observations are rare or non-existent. These multi-physics simulations incorporate earthquake rupture along a fault governed by frictional constitutive laws, which is coupled to seismic wave propagation described by the linear elastic wave equation. To accurately model the earthquake process, numerical models need to include realistic material properties such as the ability of rocks to deform plastically. This dissertation extends the Arbitrary High Order Derivative Discontinuous Galerkin (ADER-DG) framework of the dynamic rupture software SeisSol to account for non-linear off-fault plasticity. The impact of plasticity on rupture dynamics and the emitted seismic wave field is investigated in realistic simulations motivated by past earthquakes on geometrically complex faults. We first present the implementation of off-fault plasticity, which is verified in community benchmark problems and by three-dimensional numerical refinement studies. Motivated by the high efficiency of the implementation, we present a large-scale simulation of earthquake rupture along the segmented fault system of the 1992 Landers earthquake including plasticity. The results indicate that spatio-temporal rupture transfers are altered by plastic energy absorption, correlating with locations of geometrical fault complexity. In a next step, the model of the 1992 Landers earthquake is further extended to account for a new degree of realism among dynamic rupture models by incorporating high-resolution topography, 3D velocity structure, and viscoelastic attenuation in addition to off-fault plasticity. The simulation reproduces a broad range of observations including moment release rate, seismic waveform characteristics, mapped off-fault deformation patterns, and peak ground motions. We find that plasticity reduces the directivity effect and the spatial variability of peak ground velocities in comparison to the purely elastic simulation. In addition to this continental strike-slip earthquake, we investigate the effect of off-fault plasticity on source dynamics and seafloor deformation in a 3D subduction zone model of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. Simulated seafloor displacements are drastically altered by inelastic processes within the entire accretionary wedge, depending on fault- strike and the applied regional stress field, which potentially affects the tsunamigenesis. Finally, since these application scenarios show that rupture dynamics and the occurrence of off-fault plasticity are highly influenced by the assumed initial stresses and fault geometry, we propose a workflow to constrain dynamic rupture initial conditions with plasticity by long-term seismic cycling modelling. The exploited seismo-thermo-mechanical model provides a self-consistent slab geometry as well as initial stress and strength conditions that evolve according to the tectonic stress build-up and the temperature-dependent strength of the rocks. The geomechanically constrained subduction zone model suggests that the accretionary wedge is very close to plastic failure such that the occurrence of plastic strain hampers rupture to the trench, but locally increases the vertical seafloor uplift.