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AuthorsMalagnini, L.* 
Mayeda, K. M.* 
Nielsen, S.* 
Yoo, S.* 
Munafo', I.* 
Rawles, C.* 
Boschi, E.* 
TitleScaling transition in earthquake sources: a possible link between seismic and laboratory measurements
Issue Date2014
Series/Report no./171(2014)
KeywordsFault friction and lubrication, earthquake source scaling
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
AbstractWe estimate the corner frequencies of 20 crustal seismic events from mainshock–aftershock sequences in different tectonic environments (mainshocks 5.7<=MW<=7.6) using the well-established seismic coda ratio technique (MAYEDA et al., 2007; MAYEDA and MALAGNINI, 2010), which provides optimal stability and does not require path or site corrections. For each sequence, we assumed the Brune source model and estimated all the events’ corner frequencies and associated apparent stresses following the MDAC spectral formulation of WALTER and TAYLOR (A revised magnitude and distance amplitude correction (MDAC2) procedure for regional seismic discriminants, 2001), which allows for the possibility of non-self-similar source scaling. Within each sequence, we observe a systematic deviation from the self-similar M0 ~ fc^-3 line, all data being rather compatible with M0 ~ fc ^ -(3+epsilon) c , where epsilon>0 (KANAMORI and RIVERA, 2004). The deviation from a strict self-similar behavior within each earthquake sequence of our collection is indicated by a systematic increase in the estimated average static stress drop and apparent stress with increasing seismic moment (moment magnitude). Our favored physical interpretation for the increased apparent stress with earthquake size is a progressive frictional weakening for increasing seismic slip, in agreement with recent results obtained in laboratory experiments performed on state-of-the-art apparatuses at slip rates of the order of 1 m/s or larger. At smaller magnitudes (MW<5.5), the overall data set is characterized by a variability in apparent stress of almost three orders of magnitude, mostly from the scatter observed in strike-slip sequences. Larger events (MW>5.5) show much less variability: about one order of magnitude. It appears that the apparent stress (and static stress drop) does not grow indefinitely at larger magnitudes: for example, in the case of the Chi–Chi sequence (the best sampled sequence between MW 5 and 6.5), some roughly constant stress parameters characterize earthquakes larger than MW = 5.5. A representative fault slip for MW 5.5 is a few tens of centimeters (e.g., IDE and TAKEO, 1997), which corresponds to the slip amount at which effective lubrication is observed, according to recent laboratory friction experiments performed at seismic slip velocities (V ~ 1 m/s) and normal stresses representative of crustal depths (DI TORO et al. , 2011, and references therein). If the observed deviation from self-similar scaling is explained in terms of an asymptotic increase in apparent stress (MALAGNINI et al., 2014, this volume), which is directly related to dynamic stress drop on the fault, one interpretation is that for a seismic slip of a few tens of centimeters (MW ~ 5.5) or larger, a fully lubricated frictional state may be asymptotically approached.
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