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Barbot, S, Fialko Y.  2010.  A unified continuum representation of post-seismic relaxation mechanisms: semi-analytic models of afterslip, poroelastic rebound and viscoelastic flow. Geophysical Journal International. 182:1124-1140.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04678.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We present a unified continuum mechanics representation of the mechanisms believed to be commonly involved in post-seismic transients such as viscoelasticity, fault creep and poroelasticity. The time-dependent relaxation that follows an earthquake, or any other static stress perturbation, is considered in a framework of a generalized viscoelastoplastic rheology whereby some inelastic strain relaxes a physical quantity in the material. The relaxed quantity is the deviatoric stress in case of viscoelastic relaxation, the shear stress in case of creep on a fault plane and the trace of the stress tensor in case of poroelastic rebound. In this framework, the instantaneous velocity field satisfies the linear inhomogeneous Navier's equation with sources parametrized as equivalent body forces and surface tractions. We evaluate the velocity field using the Fourier-domain Green's function for an elastic half-space with surface buoyancy boundary condition. The accuracy of the proposed method is demonstrated by comparisons with finite-element simulations of viscoelastic relaxation following strike-slip and dip-slip ruptures for linear and power-law rheologies. We also present comparisons with analytic solutions for afterslip driven by coseismic stress changes. Finally, we demonstrate that the proposed method can be used to model time-dependent poroelastic rebound by adopting a viscoelastic rheology with bulk viscosity and work hardening. The proposed method allows one to model post-seismic transients that involve multiple mechanisms (afterslip, poroelastic rebound, ductile flow) with an account for the effects of gravity, non-linear rheologies and arbitrary spatial variations in inelastic properties of rocks (e.g. the effective viscosity, rate-and-state frictional parameters and poroelastic properties).

Bassett, D, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y, Watts AB.  2016.  Upper-plate controls on co-seismic slip in the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake. Nature. 531:92-96.: Nature Publishing Group   10.1038/nature16945   Abstract

The March 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake was only the second giant (moment magnitude Mw ≥ 9.0) earthquake to occur in the last 50 years and is the most recent to be recorded using modern geophysical techniques. Available data place high-resolution constraints on the kinematics of earthquake rupture1, which have challenged prior knowledge about how much a fault can slip in a single earthquake and the seismic potential of a partially coupled megathrust interface2. But it is not clear what physical or structural characteristics controlled either the rupture extent or the amplitude of slip in this earthquake. Here we use residual topography and gravity anomalies to constrain the geological structure of the overthrusting (upper) plate offshore northeast Japan. These data reveal an abrupt southwest–northeast-striking boundary in upper-plate structure, across which gravity modelling indicates a south-to-north increase in the density of rocks overlying the megathrust of 150–200 kilograms per cubic metre. We suggest that this boundary represents the offshore continuation of the Median Tectonic Line, which onshore juxtaposes geological terranes composed of granite batholiths (in the north) and accretionary complexes (in the south)3. The megathrust north of the Median Tectonic Line is interseismically locked2, has a history of large earthquakes (18 with Mw > 7 since 1896) and produced peak slip exceeding 40 metres in the Tohoku-oki earthquake1. In contrast, the megathrust south of this boundary has higher rates of interseismic creep2, has not generated an earthquake with MJ > 7 (local magnitude estimated by the Japan Meteorological Agency) since 1923, and experienced relatively minor (if any) co-seismic slip in 20111. We propose that the structure and frictional properties of the overthrusting plate control megathrust coupling and seismogenic behaviour in northeast Japan.