Virtual California: Fault Model, Frictional Parameters, Applications
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Virtual California is a topologically realistic simulation of the interacting earthquake faults in California. Inputs to the model arise from field data, and typically include realistic fault system topologies, realistic long-term slip rates, and realistic frictional parameters. Outputs from the simulations include synthetic earthquake sequences and space-time patterns together with associated surface deformation and strain patterns that are similar to those seen in nature. Here we describe details of the data assimilation procedure we use to construct the fault model and to assign frictional properties. In addition, by analyzing the statistical physics of the simulations, we can show that that the frictional failure physics, which includes a simple representation of a dynamic stress intensity factor, leads to self-organization of the statistical dynamics, and produces empirical statistical distributions (probability density functions: PDFs) that characterize the activity. One type of distribution that can be constructed from empirical measurements of simulation data are PDFs for recurrence intervals on selected faults. Inputs to simulation dynamics are based on the use of time-averaged event-frequency data, and outputs include PDFs representing measurements of dynamical variability arising from fault interactions and space-time correlations. As a first step for productively using model-based methods for earthquake forecasting, we propose that simulations be used to generate the PDFs for recurrence intervals instead of the usual practice of basing the PDFs on standard forms (Gaussian, Log-Normal, Pareto, Brownian Passage Time, and so forth). Subsequent development of simulation-based methods should include model enhancement, data assimilation and data mining methods, and analysis techniques based on statistical physics.
KeywordsEarthquakes simulations fault Systems forecasting statistics
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