In this study, we present a new method for simulating the 3-D dynamic rupture process occurring on a non-planar fault. The method is based on the curved-grid finite-difference method (CG-FDM) proposed by Zhang & Chen and Zhang et al. to simulate the propagation of seismic waves in media with arbitrary irregular surface topography. While keeping the advantages of conventional FDM, that is computational efficiency and easy implementation, the CG-FDM also is flexible in modelling the complex fault model by using general curvilinear grids, and thus is able to model the rupture dynamics of a fault with complex geometry, such as oblique dipping fault, non-planar fault, fault with step-over, fault branching, even if irregular topography exists. The accuracy and robustness of this new method have been validated by comparing with the previous results of Day et al. , and benchmarks for rupture dynamics simulations. Finally, two simulations of rupture dynamics with complex fault geometry, that is a non-planar fault and a fault rupturing a free surface with topography, are presented. A very interesting phenomenon was observed that topography can weaken the tendency for supershear transition to occur when rupture breaks out at a free surface. Undoubtedly, this new method provides an effective, at least an alternative, tool to simulate the rupture dynamics of a complex non-planar fault, and can be applied to model the rupture dynamics of a real earthquake with complex geometry.
Oxford University Press
on behalf of
The Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft (DGG) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).