A comparison among observations and earthquake simulator results for the allcal2 California fault model

Seismological Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

In order to understand earthquake hazards we would ideally have a statistical description of earthquakes for tens of thousands of years. Unfortunately the ∼100‐year instrumental, several 100‐year historical, and few 1000‐year paleoseismological records are woefully inadequate to provide a statistically significant record. Physics‐based earthquake simulators can generate arbitrarily long histories of earthquakes; thus they can provide a statistically meaningful history of simulated earthquakes. The question is, how realistic are these simulated histories? This purpose of this paper is to begin to answer that question. We compare the results between different simulators and with information that is known from the limited instrumental, historic, and paleoseismological data.

As expected, the results from all the simulators show that the observational record is too short to properly represent the system behavior; therefore, although tests of the simulators against the limited observations are necessary, they are not a sufficient test of the simulators’ realism. The simulators appear to pass this necessary test. In addition, the physics‐based simulators show similar behavior even though there are large differences in the methodology. This suggests that they represent realistic behavior. Different assumptions concerning the constitutive properties of the faults do result in enhanced capabilities of some simulators. However, it appears that the similar behavior of the different simulators may result from the fault‐system geometry, slip rates, and assumed strength drops, along with the shared physics of stress transfer.

This paper describes the results of running four earthquake simulators that are described elsewhere in this issue of Seismological Research Letters. The simulators ALLCAL (Ward, 2012), VIRTCAL (Sachs et al., 2012), RSQSim (Richards‐Dinger and Dieterich, 2012), and ViscoSim (Pollitz, 2012) were run on our most recent all‐California fault model, allcal2. With the exception of ViscoSim, which ran for 10,000 years, all the simulators ran for 30,000 years. Presentations containing content similar to this paper can be found at http://scec.usc.edu/research/eqsims/.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A comparison among observations and earthquake simulator results for the allcal2 California fault model
Series title Seismological Research Letters
DOI 10.1785/0220120094
Volume 83
Issue 6
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 994
Last page 1006