Trade-off between seismic source detail and crustal heterogeneities in spherical 3D finite element modeling: a 2004 Sumatra earthquake case study

Manuela Volpe, Daniele Melini, Antonio Piersanti


Finite-element methods are a powerful numerical simulation tool for modeling seismic events, as they allow three-dimensional complex models to be solved. We used a three-dimensional finite-element approach to evaluate the co-seismic displacement field produced by the devastating 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, which caused permanent deformations that were recorded by continuously operating GPS networks in a region of unprecedented area. Previous analysis of the static displacement fields have focused on the heterogeneous distribution of moment release on the fault plane; our intention here is to investigate how much the presence of crustal heterogeneities trades-off seismic source details. To achieve this aim, we adopted a quite simple source model in modeling the event. The key feature of our analysis is the generation of a complex three-dimensional spherical domain. Moreover, we also carried out an accurate analysis concerning the boundary conditions, which are crucial for finite-element simulations.


finite element method; 3D modeling; static deformation; Sumatra earthquake

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X