J. Phys. I France
Volume 3, Number 10, October 1993
Page(s) 2029 - 2040
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1993230
J. Phys. I France 3 (1993) 2029-2040

A plaquet representation of ruptures and models for earthquakes

Huang-Jian Xu1, Birger Bergersen1 and Kan Chen2

1  Department of Physics, University of British Columbia Vancouver, B.C. V6T1Z1, Canada
2  Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Singapore 0511

(Received 6 May 1993, accepted 8 June 1993)

We present a model for ruptures in an elastic medium. The basic unit is a plaquet on which local strain and stress tensors are assigned. We show that our discretization naturally leads to a double-couple representation of local ruptures. The stress redistribution due to ruptures is conveniently calculated using lattice Green's functions. This description can be immediately applied to the study of earthquakes, which are a sequence of ruptures generated by continuous stress increase in a medium. We show that our model is suitable for incorporating some basic properties of rocks (e.g. static fatigue and healing of the fractured surfaces), as well as for studying the spatial patterns of earthquake activities.

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