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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • earthquake
  • modeling
  • extreme event
  • lithosphere
  • fault
  • clustering

Index Terms

  • 4313 Natural Hazards: Extreme events
  • 4314 Natural Hazards: Mathematical and computer modeling
  • 7209 Seismology: Earthquake dynamics
  • 7218 Seismology: Lithosphere



Extreme Seismic Events in Models of Lithospheric Block-and-Fault Dynamics

A. T. Ismail-Zadeh, J.-L. Le Mouël, and A. A. Soloviev

Extreme seismic events are manifestations of the complex behavior of the lithosphere structured as a hierarchical system of blocks of different sizes. Driven by mantle convection, these lithospheric blocks are involved in relative movement, resulting in stress localization and earthquakes. We discuss a quantitative approach to simulation of earthquakes in models of block-and-fault dynamics (BAFD), which reproduces basic features of the observed seismicity like the Gutenberg-Richter law, clustering of earthquakes, occurrence of extreme seismic events, aftershocks, and foreshocks. The model provides a link between geodynamical processes and seismicity, allows studying the influence of fault network properties (e.g., fragmentation, block geometry and movement, and direction of driving forces) on seismic patterns and seismic cycles, and assists, in a broader sense, in earthquake forecast modeling. We review the applications of the BAFD model to study earthquake sequences and extreme events in several regions: Vrancea (southeastern Carpathians), the Tibet-Himalaya region, and the Sunda arc region. Finally, we discuss perspectives in modeling of earthquake occurrences and extreme seismicity.

Citation: Ismail-Zadeh, A. T., J.-L. Le Mouël, and A. A. Soloviev (2012), Extreme seismic events in models of lithospheric block-and-fault dynamics, in Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 196, edited by A. S. Sharma et al. 75–97, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001080.

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