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Improving Earthquake Forecasting and Seismic Hazard Analysis

Thomas Jordan, University of Southern California

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Dmitry Pekurovsky, Yifeng Cui, Philip Maechling, Robert Graves, Scott Callaghan, Thomas Jordan, Dawei Mu, William Savran, David Gill, Naeem Khoshnevis, Yongfei Wang, Qian Yao, Andrea Riano Escandon, Christine Goulet, Zhifeng Hu, Nan Wang, Jacquelyn Gilchrist, Bruce Shaw

Earthquakes emerge from complex, multiscale interactions across time scales that range from milliseconds to millions of years within active faults systems that are incredibly difficult to observe. Large-scale physics-based earthquake simulations are essential scientific tools that can be used to better understand these hazardous natural phenomena. This project will develop physics-based codes for simulating earthquakes on Blue Waters and apply these simulation capabilities to improve existing hazard analysis methods. The very large scale computing and data management capabilities of the Blue Waters system will allow the project to develop and test earthquake models that capture physics in a more realistic manner, and to run simulations at finer resolutions and higher frequencies. The results will better quantify seismic hazards and their uncertainties.

This project will advance physics-based probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) methods using numerical experimentation and large-scale simulations to increase the scale range in current representations of source physics, anelasticity, and geologic heterogeneity. Specifically, the research project will work towards seven computational objectives defined to improve our understanding of earthquake processes and advance physics-based PSHA: (1) Develop an empirically-calibrated physics-based earthquake forecast. (2) Develop a statistically sufficient, but reduced, rupture set representative of the new Unified California Earthquake Rupture Forecast. (3) Implement a new dynamic-rupture based kinematic source model to compute ground motions up to 8 cycles per second. (4) Evaluate the basin connectivity phenomenon observed in previous simulations to establish the importance of waveguide modeling at low seismic frequencies. (5) Investigate and characterize the influence of material and source models on the accuracy of ground motion simulations. (6) Validate and calibrate the rheological models used in simulations. (7) Test the physics-based hazard capabilities on a vulnerable embankment dam. The goal of this research is to improve the physical representations of earthquake processes and the deterministic codes for simulating earthquakes, which will improve PSHA practice in the United States and benefit earthquake system science worldwide.