We present a new finite-element technique for calculating dynamic 3-D spontaneous rupture on an earthquake fault, which can reduce the required computational resources by a factor of six or more, without loss of accuracy. The grid-doubling technique employs small cells in a thin layer surrounding the fault. The remainder of the modelling volume is filled with larger cells, typically two or four times as large as the small cells. In the resulting non-conforming mesh, an interpolation method is used to join the thin layer of smaller cells to the volume of larger cells. Grid-doubling is effective because spontaneous rupture calculations typically require higher spatial resolution on and near the fault than elsewhere in the model volume. The technique can be applied to non-planar faults by morphing, or smoothly distorting, the entire mesh to produce the desired 3-D fault geometry. Using our FaultMod finite-element software, we have tested grid-doubling with both slip-weakening and rate-and-state friction laws, by running the SCEC/ USGS 3-D dynamic rupture benchmark problems. We have also applied it to a model of the Hayward fault, Northern California, which uses realistic fault geometry and rock properties. FaultMod implements fault slip using common nodes, which represent motion common to both sides of the fault, and differential nodes, which represent motion of one side of the fault relative to the other side. We describe how to modify the traction-at-split-nodes method to work with common and differential nodes, using an implicit time stepping algorithm. ?? Journal compilation ?? 2009 RAS.
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A grid-doubling finite-element technique for calculating dynamic three-dimensional spontaneous rupture on an earthquake fault