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Energy radiation from intermediate- to large-magnitude earthquakes; implications for dynamic fault weakening



Energy radiation from intermediate- to large-magnitude earthquakes; implications for dynamic fault weakening



Journal of Geophysical Research 115.B6



The amount of energy radiated from an earthquake can be measured using recent methods based on earthquake coda signals and spectral ratios. Such methods are not altered by either site or directivity effects, with the advantage of a greatly improved accuracy. Several studies of earthquake sequences based on the aforementioned measurements showed evidence of a breakdown in self-similarity in the moment to energy relation. Radiated energy can also be used as a gauge to estimate the average dynamic stress drop on the fault. Here we compute the dynamic stress drop, infer the coseismic friction and estimate the coseismic heating resulting from the frictional work during events from different main shock-aftershock earthquake sequences. We relate the dynamic friction to the maximum temperature rise estimated on the faults for each earthquake. Our results are strongly indicative that a thermally triggered dynamic frictional weakening is present, responsible for the breakdown in self-similarity. These observations from seismic data are compatible with recent laboratory evidence of thermal weakening in rock friction under seismic slip rates, associated with various physical processes such as melting, decarbonation, and dehydration.

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Accession: 037043513

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1029/2009jb006786


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