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Analysis and modeling of transient earthquake patterns and their dependence on local stress regimes
(2015)

Investigations in the field of earthquake triggering and associated interactions, which includes aftershock triggering as well as induced seismicity, is important for seismic hazard assessment due to earthquakes destructive power. One of the approaches to study earthquake triggering and their interactions is the use of statistical earthquake models, which are based on knowledge of the basic seismicity properties, in particular, the magnitude distribution and spatiotemporal properties of the triggered events.
In my PhD thesis I focus on some specific aspects of aftershock properties, namely, the relative seismic moment release of the aftershocks with respect to the mainshocks; the spatial correlation between aftershock occurrence and fault deformation; and on the influence of aseismic transients on the aftershock parameter estimation. For the analysis of aftershock sequences I choose a statistical approach, in particular, the well known Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model, which accounts for the input of background and triggered seismicity. For my specific purposes, I develop two ETAS model modifications in collaboration with Sebastian Hainzl. By means of this approach, I estimate the statistical aftershock parameters and performed simulations of aftershock sequences as well.
In the case of seismic moment release of aftershocks, I focus on the ratio of cumulative seismic moment release with respect to the mainshocks. Specifically, I investigate the ratio with respect to the focal mechanism of the mainshock and estimate an effective magnitude, which represents the cumulative aftershock energy (similar to Bath's law, which defines the average difference between mainshock and the largest aftershock magnitudes). Furthermore, I compare the observed seismic moment ratios with the results of the ETAS simulations. In particular, I test a restricted ETAS (RETAS) model which is based on results of a clock advanced model and static stress triggering.
To analyze spatial variations of triggering parameters I focus in my second approach on the aftershock occurrence triggered by large mainshocks and the study of the aftershock parameter distribution and their spatial correlation with the coseismic/postseismic slip and interseismic locking. To invert the aftershock parameters I improve the modified ETAS (m-ETAS) model, which is able to take the extension of the mainshock rupture into account. I compare the results obtained by the classical approach with the output of the m-ETAS model.
My third approach is concerned with the temporal clustering of seismicity, which might not only be related to earthquake-earthquake interactions, but also to a time-dependent background rate, potentially biasing the parameter estimations. Thus, my coauthors and I also applied a modification of the ETAS model, which is able to take into account time-dependent background activity. It can be applicable for two different cases: when an aftershock catalog has a temporal incompleteness or when the background seismicity rate changes with time, due to presence of aseismic forces.
An essential part of any research is the testing of the developed models using observational data sets, which are appropriate for the particular study case. Therefore, in the case of seismic moment release I use the global seismicity catalog. For the spatial distribution of triggering parameters I exploit two aftershock sequences of the Mw8.8 2010 Maule (Chile) and Mw 9.0 2011 Tohoku (Japan) mainshocks. In addition, I use published geodetic slip models of different authors. To test our ability to detect aseismic transients my coauthors and I use the data sets from Western Bohemia (Central Europe) and California.
Our results indicate that:
(1) the seismic moment of aftershocks with respect to mainshocks depends on the static stress changes and is maximal for the normal, intermediate for thrust and minimal for strike-slip stress regimes, where the RETAS model shows a good correspondence with the results;
(2) The spatial distribution of aftershock parameters, obtained by the m-ETAS model, shows anomalous values in areas of reactivated crustal fault systems. In addition, the aftershock density is found to be correlated with coseismic slip gradient, afterslip, interseismic coupling and b-values. Aftershock seismic moment is positively correlated with the areas of maximum coseismic slip and interseismically locked areas. These correlations might be related to the stress level or to material properties variations in space;
(3) Ignoring aseismic transient forcing or temporal catalog incompleteness can lead to the significant under- or overestimation of the underlying trigger parameters. In the case when a catalog is complete, this method helps to identify aseismic sources.