Synthetic seismicity for the San Andreas fault

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S. D. B. Goes
S. N. Ward


Because historical catalogs generally span only a few repetition intervals of major earthquakes, they do not provide much constraint on how regularly earthquakes recur. In order to obtain better recurrence statistics and long-term probability estimates for events M ? 6 on the San Andreas fault, we apply a seismicity model to this fault. The model is based on the concept of fault segmentation and the physics of static dislocations which allow for stress transfer between segments. Constraints are provided by geological and seismological observations of segment lengths, characteristic magnitudes and long-term slip rates. Segment parameters slightly modified from the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities allow us to reproduce observed seismicity over four orders of magnitude. The model yields quite irregular earthquake recurrence patterns. Only the largest events (M ? 7.5) are quasi-periodic; small events cluster. Both the average recurrence time and the aperiodicity are also a function of position along the fault. The model results are consistent with paleoseismic data for the San Andreas fault as well as a global set of historical and paleoseismic recurrence data. Thus irregular earthquake recurrence resulting from segment interaction is consistent with a large range of observations.

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Goes SDB, Ward SN. Synthetic seismicity for the San Andreas fault. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 1994Nov.25 [cited 2021Oct.19];37(6). Available from: