A statistical damage model with implications for precursory seismicity

Ya Ting Lee, Donald L. Turcotte, John B. Rundle, Chien Chih Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Acoustic emissions prior to rupture indicate precursory damage. Laboratory studies of frictional sliding on model faults feature accelerating rates of acoustic emissions prior to rupture. Precursory seismic emissions are not generally observed prior to earthquakes. To address the problem of precursory damage, we consider failure in a fiber-bundle model. We observe a clearly defined nucleation phase followed by a catastrophic rupture. The fibers are hypothesized to represent asperities on a fault. Two limiting behaviors are the equal load sharing p = 0 (stress from a failed fiber is transferred equally to all surviving fibers) and the local load sharing p = 1 (stress from a failed fiber is transferred to adjacent fibers). We show that precursory damage in the nucleation phase is greatly reduced in the local-load sharing limit. The local transfer of stress from an asperity concentrates nucleation, restricting precursory acoustic emissions (seismic activity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-663
Number of pages26
JournalActa Geophysica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • acoustic emissions
  • earthquake precursors
  • fiber-bundle model
  • nucleation
  • rupture


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