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Numerical Simulation of M9 Megathrust Earthquakes in the Cascadia Subduction Zone

  • D. Roten
  • K. B. Olsen
  • R. Takedatsu
Article

Abstract

We estimate ground motions in the Pacific Northwest urban areas during M9 subduction scenario earthquakes on the Cascadia megathrust by simulating wave propagation from an ensemble of kinematic source descriptions. Velocities and densities in our computational mesh are defined by integrating the regional Cascadia Community Velocity Model (CVM) v1.6 (Stephenson et al. P-and S-wave velocity models incorporating the Cascadia subduction zone for 3D earthquake ground motion simulations—update for open-file report 2007–1348, US Geological Survey, 2017) including the ocean water layer with a local velocity model of the Georgia basin (Molnar, Predicting earthquake ground shaking due to 1D soil layering and 3D basin structure in SW British Columbia, Canada, 2011), including additional near-surface velocity information. We generate six source realizations, each consisting of a background slip distribution with correlation lengths, rise times and rupture velocities consistent with data from previous megathrust earthquakes (e.g., 2011 M 9 Tohoku or 2010 M 8.8 Maule). We then superimpose M ~ 8 subevents, characterized by short rise times and high stress drops on the background slip model to mimic high-frequency strong ground motion generation areas in the deeper portion of the rupture (Frankel, Bull Seismol Soc Am 107(1):372–386, 2017). The wave propagation is simulated using the discontinuous mesh (DM) version of the AWP finite difference code. We simulate frequencies up to 1.25 Hz, using a spatial discretization of 100 m in the fine grid, resulting in surface grid dimensions of 6540 × 10,728 mesh points. At depths below 8 km, the grid step increases to 300 m. We obtain stable and accurate results for the DM method throughout the simulation time of 7.5 min as verified against a solution obtained with a uniform 100 m grid spacing. Peak ground velocities (PGVs) range between 0.57 and 1.0 m/s in downtown Seattle and between 0.25 and 0.54 m/s in downtown Vancouver, while spectral accelerations at 2 s range between 1.7 and 3.6 m/s2 and 1.0 and 1.3 m/s2, respectively. These long-period ground motions are not significantly reduced if plastic Drucker-Prager yielding in shallow cohesionless sediments is taken into account. Effects of rupture directivity are significant at periods of ~ 10 s, but almost absent at shorter periods. We find that increasing the depth extent of the subducting slab from the truncation at 60 km in the Cascadia CVM version 1.6 to ~ 100 km increases the PGVs by 15% in Seattle and by 40% in Vancouver.

Keywords

Long-period ground motion wave propagation simulation megathrust earthquake finite difference method 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Bill Stephenson for providing the Cascadia CVM and Sheri Molnar for providing the Georgia Basin velocity model. The Juan de Fuca slab geometry (Blair et al. 2011) was obtained from the USGS (USGS 2011). The tomography model (Chai et al. 2015) was downloaded from IRIS (IRIS 2015). The global strain rates from GSRM v 2.1 (Kreemer et al. 2014) and plate boundaries were obtained from the UNAVCO PLATE motion calculator (UNAVCO 2018). The authors acknowledge the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy (DOE) for providing HPC resources that have contributed to the research results reported within this paper through an Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program allocation award. Wave propagation simulations using AWP-GPU-DM were carried out on Titan, which is part of the Oak Ridge Leadership Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory supported by DOE contract DE-AC05-00OR22725. We thank guest editor Luis Dalguer and two anonymous reviewers for many valuable comments which helped to improve the manuscript. This research has been funded by the Willis Research Network, at Willis Towers Watson.  Development of AWP-GPU-DM was supported by NSF Award OAC-1450451.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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