"Petascale simulations such as this one are needed to understand the rupture and wave dynamics of the largest earthquakes, at shaking frequencies required to engineer safe structures," said Thomas Jordan, director of SCEC and Principal Investigator for the project.
"The problem we face in earthquake science is that we actually don't have recordings of very large earthquakes needed to predict the ground motions of the next one," Jordan
The best option is then to create scenarios of such earthquakes based on as many details of the earth and the physics involved as possible, and for a broader a range of frequencies, as was done in the M8 simulation.
The results are both broadly useful data as well basic research insights into earthquake processes.
"Earthquakes have a lot of variability," Jordan
"Based on our calculations, we are finding that deep sedimentary basins, such as those in the Los Angeles area, are getting larger shaking than are predicted by the standard methods," Jordan
In addition to Cui, Olsen, Jordan
, and Maechling, other researchers on the Scalable Earthquake Simulation on Petascale Supercomputers project (which resulted in the M8 simulation) include Amit Chourasia, Kwangyoon Lee, and Jun Zhou from SDSC; Daniel Roten and Steven M. Day from SDSU; Geoffrey Ely and Patrick Small from USC; D.K. Panda and his team from OSU; and John Levesque, from Cray Inc.