Relations Among Fault Behavior, Subsurface Geology, and Three-Dimensional Velocity Models

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Science  09 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5020, pp. 651-654
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5020.651


The development of three-dimensional P-wave velocity models for the regions surrounding five large earthquakes in California has lead to the recognition of relations among fault behavior and the material properties of the rocks that contact the fault at seismogenic depths; regions of high moment release appear to correlate with high seismic velocities whereas rupture initiation or termination may be associated with lower seismic velocities. These relations point toward a physical understanding of why faults are divided into segments that can fail independently, an understanding that could improve our ability to predict earthquakes and strong ground motion.

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