We determine the scaling relationships between earthquake stress drop and recurrence interval tr that are implied by laboratory-measured fault strength. We assume that repeating earthquakes can be simulated by stick-slip sliding using a spring and slider block model. Simulations with static/kinetic strength, time-dependent strength, and rate- and state-variable-dependent strength indicate that the relationship between loading velocity and recurrence interval can be adequately described by the power law VL ??? trn, where n=-1. Deviations from n=-1 arise from second order effects on strength, with n>-1 corresponding to apparent time-dependent strengthening and n<-1 corresponding to weakening. Simulations with rate and state-variable equations show that dynamic shear stress drop ????d scales with recurrence as d????d/dlntr ??? ??e(b-a), where ??e is the effective normal stress, ??=??/??e, and (a-b)=d??ss/dlnV is the steady-state slip rate dependence of strength. In addition, accounting for seismic energy radiation, we suggest that the static shear stress drop ????s scales as d????s/dlntr ??? ??e(1+??)(b-a), where ?? is the fractional overshoot. The variation of ????s with lntr for earthquake stress drops is somewhat larger than implied by room temperature laboratory values of ?? and b-a. However, the uncertainty associated with the seismic data is large and the discrepancy between the seismic observations and the rate of strengthening predicted by room temperature experiments is less than an order of magnitude. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Earthquake stress drop and laboratory-inferred interseismic strength recovery