Geophysical Research Letters

Complex characteristics of slow slip events in subduction zones reproduced in multi-cycle simulations



[1] Since the discovery of slow slip events along subduction zone interfaces worldwide, dense geodetic and seismic networks have illuminated detailed characteristics of these events and associated tremor. High-resolution observations of tremor, where the spatial-temporal evolution is presumed to reflect that of the underlying slow slip events, show highly complex patterns in which the origins remain poorly understood. We present a new, computationally efficient modeling technique that reproduces many features of observed slow slip events, including slow initiation, coalescence of separate events, and rapid back-propagation of renewed slip over previously slipped regions. Rapid back propagation speeds are explained as a consequence of rate- and state-dependent frictional healing, consistent with analytical solutions developed in support of the simulations.