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Authors: Bizzarri, A. 
Title: Effects of permeability and porosity evolution on simulated earthquakes
Issue Date: May-2012
Series/Report no.: /38(2012)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2011.07.009
Keywords: Seismic hazard
Earthquake recourrence
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.06. Rheology, friction, and structure of fault zones 
Abstract: Numerical simulations are a fundamental tool to access the typical conditions attained during earthquake instabilities and to simulate the large number of dissipative processes taking places during faulting. In this study we consider a single-degree-of-freedom spring-slider system, a simplified fault model which can describe the whole seismic cycle and the dynamics of a fault with spatially homogeneous properties. We assume a rate- and state-dependent friction in which we incorporate the effects of pore fluid pressure, thermally-pressurized as a consequence of the frictional heat produced during sliding. We explore, in a single framework, the role of the time variations of the porosity, permeability or both, ultimately leading to changes in hydraulic diffusivity, which has been recognized as one of the key parameters in thermally-pressurized faults. Our synthetic ruptures show that the changes in the hydraulic diffusivity only due to porosity variations do not markedly affect the earthquake recurrence (cycle time), the traction evolution and the thermal history of the fault. On the contrary, when the evolutions of both the porosity and the permeability are accounted for, the cycle time is significantly reduced. This result has a clear implication in the context of the hazard assessment.
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