EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Episodic delocalization in the upper crust: Implications for earthquake forecasting

Jessica McBeck1, Francois Renard1, and Yehuda Ben-Zion2
Jessica McBeck et al.
  • 1Njord Centre, Dept of Geosciences and Physics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences and Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The progressive localization of deformation has long been recognized as a fundamental phenomenon of the macroscopic failure of rocks. Our recent analyses using X-ray tomography during triaxial compression indicate that fractures and higher magnitudes of shear and dilative strain spatially localize as rocks are driven closer to macroscopic failure. Similarly, geophysical observations of low magnitude seismicity in southern and Baja California show that deformation localizes toward the future rupture plane of M>7 earthquakes. These sets of observations indicate that deformation can increase in localization toward failure, and that deformation can temporarily decrease in localization (delocalize) during this overall increase. These observations indicate that the spatial organization of deformation may be used to recognize the acceleration of the precursory phase leading to large earthquakes and the macroscopic, system-scale failure of heterogeneous materials. However, such efforts will require identifying the conditions that promote phases of delocalization, and how these perturbations in the overall trend of increasing localization influence the timing of macroscopic failure. In this presentation, I will describe these analyses, and new work that aims to identify which characteristics of the fracture networks determine the localization at a particular level of stress, and the change in localization from one stress step to the next in triaxial compression experiments at the confining stress conditions of the upper crust.

How to cite: McBeck, J., Renard, F., and Ben-Zion, Y.: Episodic delocalization in the upper crust: Implications for earthquake forecasting, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1798,, 2023.