EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Non-tectonic-induced stress variations on active faults

Yiting Cai and Maxime Mouyen
Yiting Cai and Maxime Mouyen
  • Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Gothenburg, Sweden (

Non-tectonic processes, namely solid earth tides and surface loads such as ocean, atmosphere, and continental water, constantly modify the stress field of the Earth's crust. Such stress perturbations may trigger earthquakes. Several previous studies reported that tides or hydrological loading could modulate seismicity in some areas. We elaborate on this idea and compute the total Coulomb stress change created by solid earth tides and surface loads together on active faults. We expect that computing a total stress budget over all non-tectonic processes would be more relevant than focusing on one of these processes in particular. The Coulomb stress change is a convenient approach to infer if a fault is brought closer to or further from its critical rupture when experiencing a given stress status. It requires to know 1) the fault's rake and geometry and 2) the value of the stress applied on it, which we retrieve from a subduction zone geometry model (Slab2) and a loading-induced Earth's stress database, respectively. In this study, we focus on the Coulomb stress variations on the Kuril-Japan fault over the few last years. By applying this method to the entire Slab2 catalogue and other known active faults, we aim at producing a database of non-tectonic-induced Coulomb failure function variations. Using earthquakes catalogues, this database can then be used to statistically infer the role of the non-tectonic process in earthquakes nucleation.

How to cite: Cai, Y. and Mouyen, M.: Non-tectonic-induced stress variations on active faults, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5375,, 2022.

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion