Abstract

Following a large earthquake, seismic hazard can be orders of magnitude higher than the long‐term average as a result of aftershock triggering. Because of this heightened hazard, emergency managers and the public demand rapid, authoritative, and reliable aftershock forecasts. In the past, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) aftershock forecasts following large global earthquakes have been released on an ad hoc basis with inconsistent methods, and in some cases aftershock parameters adapted from California. To remedy this, the USGS is currently developing an automated aftershock product based on the Reasenberg and Jones (1989) method that will generate more accurate forecasts. To better capture spatial variations in aftershock productivity and decay, we estimate regional aftershock parameters for sequences within the García et al. (2012) tectonic regions. We find that regional variations for mean aftershock productivity reach almost a factor of 10. We also develop a method to account for the time‐dependent magnitude of completeness following large events in the catalog. In addition to estimating average sequence parameters within regions, we develop an inverse method to estimate the intersequence parameter variability. This allows for a more complete quantification of the forecast uncertainties and Bayesian updating of the forecast as sequence‐specific information becomes available.

Online Material: Omori parameter confidence limits, alternative Omori fits taking into account b‐value variation, larger tectonic regions, and a longer temporal fitting window, and synthetic test results.

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