A Feasibility Study of an FEM Simulation Used in Co-Seismic Deformations: A Case Study of a Dip-Slip Fault

  • Author(s): Xiaoguang Lin, Wenke Sun, Huai Zhang, Xin Zhou, and Yaolin Shi
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2013.01.16.01(TibXS)
  • Keywords: Dislocation theory, FEM simulation, Double-node technique, Co-seismic displacement, Topographical effect



For this study, we conducted a numerical simulation on co-seismic displacement for a dip-slip fault in a half-space medium based upon a finite element method (FEM). After investigating technical problems of modeling, source and boundary treatment, we calculated co-seismic deformation with consideration to topography. To verify the numerical simulation results, the simulated co-seismic displacement was compared with that calculated using a dislocation theory. As a case study, considering the seismic parameters of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake (M 8.0) as a source model, we calculate the co-seismic displacements with or without consideration of the terrain model in the finite element model to observe terrain effects on co-seismic deformation. Results show that topography has a non-negligible effect on co-seismic displacement, reaching from -11.59 to 4.0 cm in horizontal displacement, and from -3.28 to 3.28 cm in vertical displacement. The relative effects are 9.05 and 2.95% for horizontal and vertical displacement, respectively. Such a terrain effect is sufficiently large and can be detected by modern geodetic measurements such as GPS. Therefore, we conclude that the topography should be considered in applying dislocation theory to calculate co-seismic deformations.

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