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Notes on modeling earthquake dynamics with the spectral element method

Summary: Notes on modeling earthquake dynamics
with the spectral element method
Jean-Paul Ampuero
February 10, 2009
We provide a detailed presentation and discussion of a numerical modeling technique
for earthquake dynamics based on the spectral element method. The problem of dynamic
frictional contact along slip interfaces in elastic domains is formulated in a hybrid varia-
tional form, with Lagrange multipliers associated to the fault tractions. The problem is
discretized in space by a spectral element method and in time by a second order finite
difference time scheme. We investigate the convergence of the numerical error with grid
refinement in canonical test cases. We study in detail the origin and nature of the high
frequency numerical noise as well as different solutions to reduce it. Comparisons with
other methods on a standard convergence test show that the spectral element method for
fault dynamics is very accurate and competitive. The ability of the method to handle
rupture problems with realistic geometries, fault zone structure and non-linear off-fault
rheology is illustrated through several examples.

Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zšurich, ampuero@erdw.ethz.ch


Source: Ampuero, Jean Paul - Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology


Collections: Geosciences