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Authors: Bizzarri, A. 
Title: Dynamic seismic ruptures on melting fault zones
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Series/Report no.: /116(2011)
DOI: 10.1029/2010JB007724
Keywords: Melting
theoretical seismology
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
Abstract: We present a physical model that describes the behavior of spontaneous earthquake ruptures dynamically propagating on a fault zone and that accounts for the presence of frictional melt produced by the sliding surfaces. First, we analytically derive the solution for the temperature evolution inside the melt layer, which generalizes previous approximations. Then we incorporate such a solution into a numerical code for the solution of the elastodynamic problem. When a melt layer is formed, the linear slip‐weakening law (initially governing the fault and relying on the Coulomb friction) is no longer valid. Therefore we introduce on the fault a linearly viscous rheology, with a temperature‐dependent dynamic viscosity. We explore through numerical simulations the resulting behavior of the traction evolution in the cohesive zone before and after the transition from Coulomb friction and viscous rheology. The predictions of our model are in general agreement with the data from exhumed faults.We also find that the fault, after undergoing the breakdown stress drop controlled by the slip‐weakening constitutive equation, experiences a second traction drop controlled by the exponential weakening of fault resistance due to the viscous rheology. This further drop enhances the instability of the fault, increasing the rupture speeds, the peaks in fault slip velocity, and the fracture energy density.
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