Monterrubio-Velasco, M., Rodríguez-Pérez, Q., Zúñiga, R., Scholz, D., Aguilar-Meléndez, A., and de la Puente, J.: A stochastic rupture earthquake code based on the fiber bundle model (TREMOL v0.1): application to Mexican subduction earthquakes, Geosci. Model Dev., 12, 1809-1831.
Type of publication
Article in journal
Year of publication
European Geosciences Union
In general terms, earthquakes are the result of brittle failure within the heterogeneous crust of the Earth. However, the rupture process of a heterogeneous material is a complex physical problem that is difficult to model deterministically due to numerous parameters and physical conditions, which are largely unknown. Considering the variability within the parameterization, it is necessary to analyze earthquakes by means of different approaches. Computational physics may offer alternative ways to study brittle rock failure by generating synthetic seismic data based on physical and statistical models and through the use of only few free parameters. The fiber bundle model (FBM) is a stochastic discrete model of material failure, which is able to describe complex rupture processes in heterogeneous materials. In this article, we present a computer code called the stochasTic Rupture Earthquake MOdeL, TREMOL. This code is based on the principle of the FBM to investigate the rupture process of asperities on the earthquake rupture surface. In order to validate TREMOL, we carried out a parametric study to identify the best parameter configuration while minimizing computational efforts. As test cases, we applied the final configuration to 10 Mexican subduction zone earthquakes in order to compare the synthetic results by TREMOL with seismological observations. According to our results, TREMOL is able to model the rupture of an asperity that is essentially defined by two basic dimensions: (1) the size of the fault plane and (2) the size of the maximum asperity within the fault plane. Based on these data and few additional parameters, TREMOL is able to generate numerous earthquakes as well as a maximum magnitude for different scenarios within a reasonable error range. The simulated earthquake magnitudes are of the same order as the real earthquakes. Thus, TREMOL can be used to analyze the behavior of a single asperity or a group of asperities since TREMOL considers the maximum magnitude occurring on a fault plane as a function of the size of the asperity. TREMOL is a simple and flexible model that allows its users to investigate the role of the initial stress configuration and the dimensions and material properties of seismic asperities. Although various assumptions and simplifications are included in the model, we show that TREMOL can be a powerful tool to deliver promising new insights into earthquake rupture processes.