Modeling Earthquakes Using Fractal Circular Patch Models with Lessons from the 2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake

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<p>Earthquakes occur in a complex hierarchical fault system, meaning that a realistic mechanically-consistent model is required to describe heterogeneity simply and over a wide scale. We developed a simple conceptual mechanical model using fractal circular patches associated with fracture energy on a fault plane. This model explains the complexity and scaling relation in the dynamic rupture process. We also show that such a fractal patch model is useful in simulating long-term seismicity in a hierarchal fault system by using external loading. In these studies, an earthquake of any magnitude appears as a completely random cascade growing from a small patch to larger patches. This model is thus potentially useful as a benchmarking scenario for evaluating probabilistic gain in probabilistic earthquake forecasts. The model is applied to the real case of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake based on prior information from a seismicity catalog to reproduce the complex rupture process of this very large earthquake and its resulting ground motion. Provided that a high-quality seismicity catalog is available for other regions, similar approach using this conceptual model may provide scenarios for other potential large earthquakes.</p>


  • Journal of Disaster Research

    Journal of Disaster Research 9(3), 264-271, 2014

    Fuji Technology Press Ltd.


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