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Authors: Artale Harris, Pietro* 
Marzocchi, Warner* 
Melini, Daniele* 
Title: What Can We Learn from a Simple Physics-Based Earthquake Simulator?
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: /175 (2018)
DOI: 10.1007/s00024-018-1815-z
Abstract: Physics-based earthquake simulators are becoming a popular tool to investigate on the earthquake occurrence process. So far, the development of earthquake simulators is commonly led by the approach ‘‘the more physics, the better’’. However, this approach may hamper the comprehension of the outcomes of the simulator; in fact, within complex models, it may be difficult to understand which physical parameters are the most relevant to the features of the seismic catalog at which we are interested. For this reason, here, we take an opposite approach and analyze the behavior of a purposely simple earthquake simulator applied to a set of California faults. The idea is that a simple simulator may be more informative than a complex one for some specific scientific objectives, because it is more understandable. Our earthquake simulator has three main components: the first one is a realistic tectonic setting, i.e., a fault data set of California; the second is the application of quantitative laws for earthquake generation on each single fault, and the last is the fault interaction modeling through the Coulomb Failure Function. The analysis of this simple simulator shows that: (1) the short-term clustering can be reproduced by a set of faults with an almost periodic behavior, which interact according to a Coulomb failure function model; (2) a long-term behavior showing supercycles of the seismic activity exists only in a markedly deterministic framework, and quickly disappears introducing a small degree of stochasticity on the recurrence of earthquakes on a fault; (3) faults that are strongly coupled in terms of Coulomb failure function model are synchronized in time only in a marked deterministic framework, and as before, such a synchronization disappears introducing a small degree of stochasticity on the recurrence of earthquakes on a fault. Overall, the results show that even in a simple and perfectly known earthquake occurrence world, introducing a small degree of stochasticity may blur most of the deterministic time features, such as long-term trend and synchronization among nearby coupled faults.
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