Research on Coulomb Stress Change and Its Application in Seismology
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    Abstract:

    An earthquake is a natural phenomenon caused by the sudden breaking and slipping of crustal rocks when stress accumulates to a certain extent.The coseismic dislocations of a major earthquake not only cause stress state changes in adjacent areas,but also change the Coulomb stress.Earthquakes can be triggered by stress changes induced by other earthquakes;the most common examples are aftershocks.Static stress changes can increase or decrease seismicity in the surrounding regions.According to the Coulomb failure criteria,ΔCFSwill affect the failure condition of a fault.WhenΔCFSis positive,it will accelerate the speed of the stress rupture accumulation in the surrounding areas and cause the next earthquake to occur sooner,which is called stress triggering;on the contrary,whenΔCFSis negative,it will defer the accumulation.In recent years,seismic Coulomb stress changes generated by the earthquake and subsequent temporal relationships have been valued by seismologists all over the world.Studies have shown that a minor static Coulomb stress change of 0.1bar may trigger earthquakes and make the regional seismic activity change in the future.Therefore,it is important to explore the relation between Coulomb stress changes and earthquake triggering not only for the study of long-term earthquake prediction and static stress changes triggering subsequent seismic events,but also for future regional seismic hazard analysis.In this paper,the definition and the physical meaning of Coulomb stress are explained,and then the research progress of the applications of Coulomb stress change in seismology are discussed from five aspects:1)The triggering of aftershocks by a strong earthquake.Based on Okada’s([year\〗)elastic half-space dislocation model,the Coulomb stress change images are calculated,and then the spatial distribution of aftershocks are studied.The positive and negative Coulomb stress distribution images are related to the activity of aftershocks directly and affect the regional seismic hazard assessment;2)Triggering of the subsequent earthquakes by strong earthquake.The main way to trigger subsequent earthquakes is stress transfer,in which the stress before an earthquake event can have an effect on aftershocks;3)Stress shadow.A socalled stress shadow means the negative Coulomb stress changes an area with the function of inhibiting or delaying the fault slip and rupture with aΔCFS <0,which will either decrease the seismic activity or prolong the time of the next earthquake;4)The analysis of seismic activity;and 5)The related application of software.Though limited by the inability to accurately predict the time of subsequent earthquakes,Coulomb stress changes have been proven to be very useful in predicting epicenter locations.There is still much research left to be conducted to predict the location and timing of future earthquakes accurately by Coulomb stress changes.

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  • Online: March 31,2014
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