Properties of dynamic rupture and energy partition in a solid with a frictional interface Academic Article uri icon


  • We study properties of dynamic ruptures and the partition of energy between radiation and dissipative mechanisms using two-dimensional in-plane calculations with the finite element method. The model consists of two identical isotropic elastic media separated by an interface governed by rate- and state-dependent friction. Rupture is initiated by gradually overstressing a localized nucleation zone. Different values of parameters controlling the velocity dependence of friction, the strength excess parameter and the length of the nucleation zone, lead to the following four rupture modes: supershear crack-like rupture, subshear crack-like rupture, subshear single pulse and supershear train of pulses. High initial shear stress and weak velocity dependence of friction favor crack-like ruptures, while the opposite conditions favor the pulse mode. The rupture mode can switch from a subshear single pulse to a supershear train of pulses when the width of the nucleation zone increases. The elastic strain energy released over the same propagation distance by the different rupture modes has the following order: supershear crack, subshear crack, supershear train of pulses and subshear single pulse. The same order applies also to the ratio of kinetic energy (radiation) to total change of elastic energy for the different rupture modes. Decreasing the dynamic coefficient of friction increases the fraction of stored energy that is converted to kinetic energy. General considerations and observations suggest that the subshear pulse and supershear crack are, respectively, the most and least common modes of earthquake ruptures. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Shi, Z., Ben-Zion, Y., & Needleman, A.

citation count

  • 68

complete list of authors

  • Shi, Zheqiang||Ben-Zion, Yehuda||Needleman, Alan

publication date

  • January 2008