Summary The dynamics and potential size of earthquakes depend crucially on rupture transfers between adjacent fault segments. To accurately describe earthquake source dynamics, numerical models can account for realistic fault geometries and rheologies such as nonlinear inelastic processes off the slip interface. We present implementation, verification, and application of off-fault Drucker-Prager plasticity in the open source software SeisSol (www.seissol.org). SeisSol is based on an arbitrary high-order derivative modal Discontinuous Galerkin (ADER-DG) method using unstructured, tetrahedral meshes specifically suited for complex geometries. Two implementation approaches are detailed, modelling plastic failure either employing sub-elemental quadrature points or switching to nodal basis coefficients. At fine fault discretizations the nodal basis approach is up to 6 times more efficient in terms of computational costs while yielding comparable accuracy. Both methods are verified in community benchmark problems and by three dimensional numerical h- and p-refinement studies with heterogeneous initial stresses. We observe no spectral convergence for on-fault quantities with respect to a given reference solution, but rather discuss a limitation to low-order convergence for heterogeneous 3D dynamic rupture problems. For simulations including plasticity, a high fault resolution may be less crucial than commonly assumed, due to the regularization of peak slip rate and an increase of the minimum cohesive zone width. In large-scale dynamic rupture simulations based on the 1992 Landers earthquake, we observe high rupture complexity including reverse slip, direct branching, and dynamic triggering. The spatio-temporal distribution of rupture transfers are altered distinctively by plastic energy absorption, correlated with locations of geometrical fault complexity. Computational cost increases by 7% when accounting for off-fault plasticity in the demonstrating application. Our results imply that the combination of fully 3D dynamic modelling, complex fault geometries, and off-fault plastic yielding is important to realistically capture dynamic rupture transfers in natural fault systems. Numerical modelling, Earthquake dynamics, Fractures, faults, and high strain deformation zones, Numerical approximations and analysis, Earthquake hazard © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Geophysical Journal International – Oxford University Press
Published: May 28, 2018
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