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Earth Planets Space, Vol. 56 (No. 8), pp. 823-830, 2004

Seismological evidence for the brittle-ductile interaction hypothesis on earthquake loading

Anshu Jin1, Keiiti Aki1, Zhen Liu2, and Vladimir. I. Keilis-Borok2

1Association for the Development of Earthquake Prediction & National Research Institute for Earth Sciences and Disaster Prevention, Japan
2Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics & Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California at Los Angels, U.S.A.

(Received November 28, 2003; Revised February 25, 2004; Accepted June 23, 2004)

Abstract: We extended the analyses of temporal variation of coda Q-1 and seismicity by Jin and Aki (1989, 1993) for central and southern California to year 2003. We use the relative frequency N(Mc) of earthquakes in a certain magnitude range around Mc characteristic to a seismic region to quantify the seismicity. The cross-correlation function between coda Q-1 and N(Mc) is calculated using a 10-year moving time window . The correlation coefficient for the entire period of about 60 years is peaked at the zero-time shift with the value close to 0.8 for both regions. We found, however, the simultaneous correlation is disturbed before major earthquakes. The disturbance is, consistently, a delay in the change of coda Q-1 relative to that of N(Mc) before the occurrence of a major earthquake. We attribute the temporal change in coda Q-1 to fractures in the ductile part of the lithosphere and that in N(Mc) to the response of the brittle part to the ductile fracture. We believe that Mc characteristic to a seismic region is originated from a characteristic size of fractures in the ductile zone of the lithosphere. The observed delay of coda Q-1 change relative to N(Mc) before a major earthquake can be explained simply by the strain energy stored in the brittle part of lithosphere reaching a saturation limit and starting to flow back to the ductile part.
Key words: Coda Q, characteristic magnitude Mc, seismogenic zone, plate driving earthquake loading, brittleductile transition zone.


Corresponding author E-mail: ajin@bosai.go.jp


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