On the recurrence of earthquakes: Role of wear in brittle faulting

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Abstract

[1] The time of occurrence of an earthquake is related to the state of the fault, tectonic loading, and possible triggering mechanisms, and it plays a prominent role in hazard assessment. In this paper we incorporate the effects of wear generation into a seismogenic model. We show that without wear the recurrence time of repeated earthquakes is constant through time and it is controlled by the initial conditions, tectonic loading and constitutive properties, including the presence of pore fluids. Our results indicate that considering the wear development into the fault model dramatically affects the temperature evolution of the fault, the stress release, the developed cosesimic slip and ultimately the duration of the seismic cycle. Moreover, we find that as long as the slipping zone thickness increases, the recurrence time continuously decreases through time. This further complicates the predictability of a subsequent earthquake, even in the simple case of an isolated fault.

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