Seeking Anderson's faulting in seismicity: A centennial celebration
The reactivation of faults with near-optimal orientations is commonly considered to control the state of stress in the crust. Near the surface, where a principal stress direction is vertical, the attitude of such faults is explained by Anderson's theory. This raises the questions of how prevalent this type of faulting actually is in current seismicity, down to what depth it frequently occurs, and what range of friction angles explains it best. The Global Centroid Moment Tensor catalog is analyzed to address these questions. Dip-slip and strike-slip mechanisms are dominant, and oblique slips are relatively rare for well-constrained events with depths shallower than 30 km. Preferred Andersonian faulting is the simplest, but not the unique, explanation for this dominance. Isolating reverse, strike-slip, and normal events reveals an asymmetry in the distribution of nodal plane dips and plunges of the P, B, and T axes between reverse and normal faulting. Assuming that the most frequent events correspond to reactivation near optimal orientations yields 40–60° and 0–20° friction angles for reverse and normal faults, respectively. This indicates that reverse and normal faulting mechanics are not symmetrical with respect to stress configuration as predicted by Anderson's theory.