A New Discontinuous Galerkin Method for Elastic Waves with Physically Motivated Numerical Fluxes

Kenneth Duru, Leonhard Rannabauer, Alice Agnes Gabriel, Heiner Igel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method is an established method for computing approximate solutions of partial differential equations in many applications. Unlike continuous finite elements, in DG methods numerical fluxes are used to enforce inter-element conditions, and internal/external physical boundary conditions. For elastic wave propagation in complex media several wave types, including dissipative surface and interface waves, are simultaneously supported. The presence of multiple wave types and different physical phenomena pose a significant challenge for numerical fluxes. When modelling surface or interface waves an incompatibility of the numerical flux with the physical boundary condition leads to numerical artefacts. We present a stable and arbitrary order accurate DG method for elastic waves with a physically motivated numerical flux. Our numerical flux is compatible with all well-posed, internal and external, boundary conditions, including linear and nonlinear frictional constitutive equations for modelling spontaneously propagating shear ruptures in elastic solids and dynamic earthquake rupture processes. By construction our choice of penalty parameters yield an upwind scheme and a discrete energy estimate analogous to the continuous energy estimate. We derive a priori error estimate for the DG method proving optimal convergence to discontinuous and nearly singular exact solutions. The spectral radius of the resulting spatial operator has an upper bound which is independent of the boundary and interface conditions, thus it is suitable for efficient explicit time integration. We present numerical experiments in one and two space dimensions verifying high order accuracy and asymptotic numerical stability. We demonstrate the potential of the method for modelling complex nonlinear frictional problems in elastic solids with 2D dynamically adaptive meshes and non-planar topography with 2D curvilinear elements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Scientific Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 20 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Software
  • General Engineering


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