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Complex temporal patterns of large earthquakes; Devil's Staircases

Yuxuan Chen, Mian Liu and Luo Gang
Complex temporal patterns of large earthquakes; Devil's Staircases
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (April 2020) 110 (3): 1064-1076


Periodic or quasiperiodic earthquake recurrence on individual faults, as predicted by the elastic rebound model, is not common in nature. Instead, most earthquake sequences are complex and variable, and often show clusters of events separated by long but irregular intervals of quiescence. Such temporal patterns are especially common for large earthquakes in complex fault zones or regional and global fault networks. Mathematically described as the Devil's Staircase, such temporal patterns are a fractal property of nonlinear complex systems, in which a change of any part (e.g., rupture of a fault or fault segment) could affect the behavior of the whole system. We found that the lengths of the quiescent intervals between clusters are inversely related to tectonic-loading rates, whereas earthquake clustering can be attributed to many factors, including earthquake-induced viscoelastic relaxation and fault interaction. Whereas the underlying causes of the characteristics of earthquake sequences are not fully known, we attempted to statistically characterize these sequences. We found that most earthquake sequences are burstier than the Poisson model commonly used in probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, implying a higher probability of repeating events soon after a large earthquake.

ISSN: 0037-1106
EISSN: 1943-3573
Serial Title: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Serial Volume: 110
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Complex temporal patterns of large earthquakes; Devil's Staircases
Affiliation: University of Missouri, Department of Geological Sciences, Columbia, MO, United States
Pages: 1064-1076
Published: 20200414
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, Berkeley, CA, United States
References: 65
Accession Number: 2020-039353
Categories: Seismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
Secondary Affiliation: Wuhan University, CHN, China
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 202025
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