Summary Geophysical observations show a dramatic drop of seismic wave speeds in the shallow off-fault medium following earthquake ruptures. Seismic ruptures generate, or reactivate, damage around faults that alter the constitutive response of the surrounding medium, which in turn modifies the earthquake itself, the seismic radiation, and the near-fault ground motion. We present a micromechanics based constitutive model that accounts for dynamic evolution of elastic moduli at high-strain rates. We consider 2D in-plane models, with a 1D right lateral fault featuring slip-weakening friction law. The two scenarios studied here assume uniform initial off-fault damage and an observationally motivated exponential decay of initial damage with fault normal distance. Both scenarios produce dynamic damage that is consistent with geological observations. A small difference in initial damage actively impacts the final damage pattern. The second numerical experiment, in particular, highlights the complex feedback that exists between the evolving medium and the seismic event. We show that there is a unique off-fault damage pattern associated with supershear transition of an earthquake rupture that could be potentially seen as a geological signature of this transition. These scenarios presented here underline the importance of incorporating the complex structure of fault zone systems in dynamic models of earthquakes. Damage mechanics, earthquake ruptures, off-fault damage, numerical modeling, seismic radiation, supershear ruptures © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Geophysical Journal International – Oxford University Press
Published: May 4, 2018
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