Abstract

The statistics of fault plane solutions of earthquakes is further analyzed and it is shown that, to find a best axis or best plane to a set of axes, the eigenvectors of a certain matrix must be calculated. The justification for this procedure follows from the same argument as that of Fisher who showed that the best of a series of directions is obtained by forming the vector sum. The eigenvector technique is then applied to the pertinent axes of fault plane solutions of earthquakes that occurred in Europe and Western Asia. It is shown that, in this region, the focal mechanisms of the earthquakes tend to orient themselves in such a fashion that the P axes coincide with the principal horizontal stress directions, the latter being normal to the geographically prominent features. The null axes tend to lie in a plane normal to the best fitting P axes. The chief random element enters into the orientation of the T axes. All this is in conformity with the predictions of theory.

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