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Surface faulting earthquake clustering controlled by fault and shear-zone interactions

Mildon, Zoë K; Roberts, Gerald P; Faure Walker, Joanna P; Beck, Joakim; Papanikolaou, Ioannis; Michetti, Alessandro M; Toda, Shinji; ... Vittori, Eutizio; + view all (2022) Surface faulting earthquake clustering controlled by fault and shear-zone interactions. Nature Communications , 13 , Article 7126. 10.1038/s41467-022-34821-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Surface faulting earthquakes are known to cluster in time from historical and palaeoseismic studies, but the mechanism(s) responsible for clustering, such as fault interaction, strain-storage, and evolving dynamic topography, are poorly quantified, and hence not well understood. We present a quantified replication of observed earthquake clustering in central Italy. Six active normal faults are studied using 36Cl cosmogenic dating, revealing out-of-phase periods of high or low surface slip-rate on neighboring structures that we interpret as earthquake clusters and anticlusters. Our calculations link stress transfer caused by slip averaged over clusters and anti-clusters on coupled fault/shear-zone structures to viscous flow laws. We show that (1) differential stress fluctuates during fault/shear-zone interactions, and (2) these fluctuations are of sufficient magnitude to produce changes in strain-rate on viscous shear zones that explain slip-rate changes on their overlying brittle faults. These results suggest that fault/shear-zone interactions are a plausible explanation for clustering, opening the path towards process-led seismic hazard assessments.

Type: Article
Title: Surface faulting earthquake clustering controlled by fault and shear-zone interactions
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-34821-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-34821-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Natural hazards, Structural geology, Tectonics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10160292
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