Discontinuities without discontinuity : the Weakly-enforced Slip Method

G.J. Zwieten, van, E.H. Brummelen, van, K.G. Zee, van der, M.A. Gutiérrez, R.F. Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Tectonic faults are commonly modelled as Volterra or Somigliana dislocations in an elastic medium. Various solution methods exist for this problem. However, the methods used in practice are often limiting, motivated by reasons of computational efficiency rather than geophysical accuracy. A typical geophysical application involves inverse problems for which many different fault configurations need to be examined, each adding to the computational load. In practice, this precludes conventional finite-element methods, which suffer a large computational overhead on account of geometric changes. This paper presents a new non-conforming finite-element method based on weak imposition of the displacement discontinuity. The weak imposition of the discontinuity enables the application of approximation spaces that are independent of the dislocation geometry, thus enabling optimal reuse of computational components. Such reuse of computational components renders finite-element modeling a viable option for inverse problems in geophysical applications. A detailed analysis of the approximation properties of the new formulation is provided. The analysis is supported by numerical experiments in 2D and 3D. Keywords: Volterra dislocation; Finite Element Method; weak imposition; linear elasticity; tectonophysics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-166
Number of pages23
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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