We study how enforcing self-consistency in the statistical properties of the preshear and postshear stress on a fault can be used to constrain fault constitutive behavior beyond that required to produce a desired spatial and temporal evolution of slip in a single event. We explore features of rupture dynamics that (1) lead to slip heterogeneity in earthquake ruptures and (2) maintain these conditions following rupture, so that the stress field is compatible with the generation of aftershocks and facilitates heterogeneous slip in subsequent events. Our three-dimensional fmite element simulations of magnitude 7 events on a vertical, planar strike-slip fault show that the conditions that lead to slip heterogeneity remain in place after large events when the dynamic stress drop (initial shear stress) and breakdown work (fracture energy) are spatially heterogeneous. In these models the breakdown work is on the order of MJ/m2, which is comparable to the radiated energy. These conditions producing slip heterogeneity also tend to produce narrower slip pulses independent of a slip rate dependence in the fault constitutive model. An alternative mechanism for generating these confined slip pulses appears to be fault constitutive models that have a stronger rate dependence, which also makes them difficult to implement in numerical models. We hypothesize that self-consistent ruptures could also be produced by very narrow slip pulses propagating in a self-sustaining heterogeneous stress field with breakdown work comparable to fracture energy estimates of kJ/M2. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Constraining fault constitutive behavior with slip and stress heterogeneity