Geometrical Properties of Fault Zones


The geometrical properties of faults are believed to be perhaps the most crucial determinant of their future behavior and indicator of their past dynamics. While most of the theoretical models of earthquake behavior consider perfectly flat faults, real faults are not flat and exist as elements in system of faults. This page attempts to collect some articles of interest for those who want to know more about fault geometry, fault systems and mathematical approaches to characterizing and analyzing these complex systems.

  • Ben-Zion, Y., C. G. Sammis, "Characterization of Fault Zones," Pure Appl. Geophys., 160, 677-715, 2003. link
  • Libicki, E. and Y. Ben-Zion, "Stochastic Branching Models of Fault Surfaces and Estimated Fractal Dimension," Pure Appl. Geophys., 162, 1027–1049, DOI: 10.1007/s00024-004-2660-9, 2005.link

The following papers consider what happens when an earthquake rupture encounters a change in fault geometry, for the case of a strike-slip fault. Specific examples listed here include 1) California settings of the San Andreas fault in the San Francisco Bay area, and near Parkfield, and the 1992 M7.3 Landers earthquake in the eastern Mojave shear zone, 2) the 1999 M7.4 Izmit, earthquake on the North Anatolian fault in Turkey, 3) the 2002 M7.9 Denali, Alaska earthquake on the Denali fault. Since the late 1990's there have also been other papers published on fault geometry dynamically affecting earthquake rupture, including papers by Aagaard, Andrews, Aochi, Bhat, Bouchon, Dmowska, Duan, Fliss, Kame, Kase, Madariaga, Oglesby, Poliakov, Rice.

  • Harris, R.A., R.J. Archuleta, and S. M. Day, "Fault steps and the dynamic rupture process: 2-d numerical simulations of a spontaneously propagating shear fracture," Geophys. Res. Lett., 18, 893-896, 1991.
  • Harris, R.A., and S.M. Day, "Dynamics of fault interaction: parallel strike-slip faults," J. Geophys. Res., 98, 4461-4472, 1993.
  • Harris, R.A., and S.M. Day, "Dynamic 3D simulations of earthquakes on en echelon faults," Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 2089-2092, 1999.
  • Harris, R.A., J.F. Dolan, R. Hartleb, and S.M. Day, "The 1999 Izmit, Turkey earthquake - A 3D dynamic stress transfer model of intraearthquake triggering," Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 92, 245-255, 2002.
  • Harris, R.A., "Numerical simulations of large earthquakes: dynamic rupture propagation on heterogeneous faults," Pure and Applied Geophysics, vol. 161, No.11/12, pp. 2171-2181, DOI: 10.1007/s00024-004-2556-8, 2004.
  • Oglesby, D.D., D. S. Dreger, R. A. Harris, N. Ratchkovski, and R. Hansen, "Inverse kinematic and forward dynamic models of the 2002 Denali, Alaska, earthquake," Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 94, no. 6B, 214-233, 2004.