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Abstract

Large seismogenic faults consist of approximately meter-thick fault cores surrounded by hundreds-of-meters-thick damage zones. Earthquakes are generated by rupture propagation and slip within fault cores and dissipate the stored elastic strain energy in fracture and frictional processes in the fault zone and in radiated seismic waves. Understanding this energy partitioning is fundamental in earthquake mechanics to explain fault dynamic weakening and causative rupture processes operating over different spatial and temporal scales. The energy dissipated in the earthquake rupture propagation along a fault is called fracture energy or breakdown work. Here we review fracture energy estimates from seismological, modeling, geological, and experimental studies and show that fracture energy scales with fault slip. We conclude that although material-dependent constant fracture energies are important at the microscale for fracturing grains of the fault zone, they are negligible with respect to the macroscale processes governing rupture propagation on natural faults.

  • ▪  Earthquake ruptures propagate on geological faults and dissipate energy in fracture and frictional processes from micro- (less than a millimeter) to macroscale (centimeters to kilometers).
  • ▪  The energy dissipated in earthquake rupture propagation is called fracture energy () or breakdown work () and scales with coseismic slip.
  • ▪  For earthquake ruptures in natural faults, the estimates of and are consistent with a macroscale description of causative processes.
  • ▪  The energy budget of an earthquake remains controversial, and contributions from different disciplines are required to unravel this issue.

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2023-05-31
2024-04-24
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