What is the earthquake fracture energy?

Di Toro G., Nielsen S., Spagnuolo E., Murphy S., Aretusini S.

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IV - Geofisica e fisica dell'ambiente
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During seismic rupture propagation, the elastic strain energy stored in the rock volume that bounds the fault is thought to be converted into gravitational work, fracture energy (in- and off-fault damage), frictional heating and seismic radiated energy. However, the energy partitioning in these four sinks remains unknown. Based on field and experimental studies, here we show that the earthquake fracture energy is mainly frictional heat for small slips but, with increasing slip (= large earthquakes), the dominant dissipation mechanism is the off-fault damage due to fault segmentation and stress concentrations in a growing region around the fracture tip.

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