Dynamics of earthquakes in heterogeneous stress fields
The goal of this project is to investigate what makes earthquake ruptures accelerate or stop, and the type of seismic signature this produces. In nature, earthquakes propagate along faults where ambient stresses may vary due to the geometrical complexity of the fault or the presence of material heterogeneities. Earthquake propagation in such conditions can be efficiently simulated numerically in a simplified 2D geometry. What is proposed here is to make a systematic investigation of the effect of stress heterogeneity on rupture propagaion, using computer simulations. The numerical results will be used to simulate the potential seismic signature of expanding and arresting ruptures, and will be compared to near-field seismograms of real earthquakes.