Skip to main content

Volume 54 Supplement 11

Special Issue: Slip and Flow Processes in and below the Seismogenic Region

Modeling slip processes at the deeper part of the seismogenic zone using a constitutive law combining friction and flow laws


The fault zone in the earth’s crust is thought to consist of several regions from top to bottom: the upper frictional region, the brittle-ductile transition zone and the ductile region. The upper frictional region consists of the unstable frictional zone, the unstable-stable transition zone, and the stable frictional zone. Recent geological observations of fault rock suggest that at the deeper part of the seismogenic zone, co-seismic frictional slip coexists with interseismic flow processes. We propose a possible model for slip processes at the deeper part of the seismogenic zone in which the frictional slip and flow processes are connected in series. In this model, in the ductile region, power law creep is dominant. Around the unstable-stable transition zone, we assume that co-seismic frictional slip coexists with aseismic flow processes. We investigate simple 1-D and 2-D models where rate- and state-dependent friction coexists with power law creep that has a threshold stress. The results of numerical simulations show that the amount of slip during the interseismic period is greater in the case where friction coexists with power law creep than it is when only friction is at work. It is also found that, for the case where friction coexists with power law creep, frictional slip is largely inhibited in the ductile region.


  • Aki, K., Scale-dependence in earthquake phenomena and its relevance to earthquake prediction, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 93, 3740–3747, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ben-Zion, Y. and J. R. Rice, Dynamic simulations of slip on a smooth fault in an elastic solid, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 17,771–17,785, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blanpied, M. L., C. J. Marone, D. A. Lockner, J. D. Byerlee, and D. P. King, Quantitative measure of the variation in fault rheology due to fluid-rock interactions, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 9691–9712, 1998.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chester, F. M., A rheologic model for wet crust applied to strike-slip faults, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 13,033–13,044, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dieterich, J. H., Constitutive properties of faults with simulated gouge, in Mechanical Behavior of Crustal Rocks, Geophysical Monograph Series, vol. 24, edited by N. L. Carter, M. Friedman, J. M. Logan, and D. W. Stearns, Ameican Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., pp. 103–120, 1981.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Heslot, F., T. Baumberger, B. Perrin, B. Caroli, and C. Caroli, Creep, stickslip, and dry friction dynamics: Experiments and a heuristic model, Phys. Rev. E, 49, 4973–4988, 1994.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iio, Y. and Y. Kobayashi, Is the plastic flow uniformly distributed below the seismogenic region?, Earth Planets Space, 54, this issue, 1085–1090, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iio, Y., Y. Kobayashi, and T. Tada, Large earthquakes initiate by the acceleration of slips on the downward extensions of seismogenic faults, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 2002 (in press).

  • Kato, N. and T. Hirasawa, A numerical study on seismic coupling along subduction zones using a laboratory-derived friction law, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 102, 51–68, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kocks, W. F., A. S. Argon, and M. F. Ashby, Thermodynamics and kinetics of slip, Progr. Mater. Sci., 19, 291, 1975.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kohlstedt, D. L., B. Evans, and S. J. Mackwell, Strength of the lithosphere: constraints imposed by laboratory experiments, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 17,587–17,602, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lapusta, N., J. Rice, Y. Ben-Zion, and G. Zheng, Elastodynamic analysis for slow tectonic loading with spontaneous rupture episodes on faults with rate- and state-dependent friction, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 23,765–23,789, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakatani, M., Conceptual and physical clarification of rate and state dependent friction law: Thermally activated rheology of frictional sliding, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 13,347–13,380, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Poirier, J. P., Creep of crystals, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Press, W. H., S. A. Teukolsky, W. T. Vetterling, and B. P. Flannery, Numerical recipes in Fortran: the art of scientific computing, second edition, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

  • Reinen, L. A., Slip styles in a spring-slider model with a laboratory-derived constitutive law for serpentinite, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 2037–2040, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rice, J. R., Spatio-temporal complexity of slip on a fault, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 9885–9907, 1993.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rice, J. R., N. Lapusta, and K. Ranjith, Rate and dependent friction and the stability of sliding between elastically deformable solids, J. Mech. Phys. Solids., 49, 1865–1898, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ruina, A. L., Slip instability and state variable friction laws, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 10,359–10,370, 1983.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scholz, C. H., The mechanics of earthquakes and faulting, Cambridge University Press, 1990.

  • Shibazaki, B., Nucleation of large earthquakes determined by the seismic-aseismi boundary: agreement between models and observations, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 2002 (in press).

  • Shigematsu, N., K. Fujimoto, T. Ohtani, T. Tomita, and K. Omura, Plastic deformation and fracturing: a case study in the Hatagawa fault zone, in Proceedings of International Symposium on Slip and Flow Processes in and below the Seismogenic Region, pp. 265–272, Sendai, Japan, 2001.

  • Shimamoto, T., A transition between frictional slip and ductile flow undergoing large shearing deformation at room temperature, Science, 231, 711–714, 1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stuart, W. D. and T. E. Tullis, Fault model for preseismic deformation at Parkfield, California, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 24,079–24,099, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Takagi, H., K. Goto, and N. Shigematsu, Ultramylonite bands derived from cataclastic and pseudotachylyte in granites, Northeast Japan, J. Struct. Geol., 22, 1325–1339, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tanaka, H., Competitive mechanisms between flow and friction within a fault zone during dynamic slip; a model based on distribution and characteristics of intrafault materials, Programme and abstracts, Seism. Soc. Japan, C35, 2000 (in Japanese).

  • Tanaka, H. and D. A. Lockner, Nonlinear viscous behavior of montmorillonite clay minerals under hydrostatic conditions with low strain rate, and its implication for fault creep (in preparation).

  • Tse, S. T. and J. R. Rice, Crustal earthquake instability in relation to the depth variation of frictional slip properties, J. Geophys. Res., 91, 9452–9472, 1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tullis, T. E., Rock friction and its implications for earthquake prediction examined via models of Parkfield earthquakes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 93, 3803–3810, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bunichiro Shibazaki.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Shibazaki, B., Tanaka, H., Horikawa, H. et al. Modeling slip processes at the deeper part of the seismogenic zone using a constitutive law combining friction and flow laws. Earth Planet Sp 54, 1211–1218 (2002).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Fault Zone
  • Threshold Stress
  • Fault Slip
  • Seismogenic Zone
  • Dislocation Creep